The Empire Strikes Back - Live Sail Die

The Empire Strikes Back


About a month ago Buoy and I decided not to follow this crazy rudder saga, thinking it was too stupid for words, and a storm in a tea cup. It seems it’s not going away and mainstream media seem to be pandering to every word form the teams, enabling the loudest shouter to be heard when in the past they may not have been.

The video below is courtesy of Valencia Sailing, taken during the Oracle Team USA media event.

During the opening scene of the video Sir Russell Conner (oops I mean Coutts) fires a broadside directly at Emirates Team NZ holding a book that shows “a lot of catamarans with foils on them”…. “this is not new technology”….“these boats were flying in the 60’s” then firing off with “some of this technology claimed to be new and invented, there are certain people who claim they are the only ones who can do this, I suggest that is probably not true”


As the walk approaches the rudders of the AC72 platform Coutts bursts out with “low and behold we have an Asymmetric foil here, and we have other asymmetric foils too”

The body language and accents are reminisce of Dennis Conner’s outbursts in the 1980’s…. maybe its an American thing ?

Martin Tasker interviews Coutts asking some very direct questions…. Coutts seemingly on the back foot when he comes out and says “we believe that smaller wings are faster”, not adding “clearly bigger wings are safer” until Tasker prompts him.

Coutts then states “The wings have to be a certain area… we would sail with smaller wings, so as long as everyone is forced to use bigger wings that’s fine, and if it makes the boat safer that’s a good thing.” So do they really think this is a safety issue then?  Surely if they did, they would sail with the larger wings, if there was no rule. This seems to us that it would be an admission that the they don’t think that they are needed, they are just looking for a win against Emirates Team NZ. He then goes on to add “We don’t really want them” so are they speaking out against Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa purely to be antagonistic.

The comment that I really struggle with is “we don’t care what the decision is, we really don’t, but we support the process of making this safer” …. what ?  This seems a strange comment to us.  Either they want it to be safer, or they think it is safe enough.

[youtuber vimeo=’′]

Once the conversation turns to sailing and their preparations, he calms down, and has some insightful comments. Interestingly he somewhat admits that the Louis Vuitton regatta will be largely one sided, writing on Luna Rossa. But not Artemis stating that clearly Artemis are behind the 8 ball, but rating the abilities of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Percy as world class sailors.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days, and clearly there are two sides to this story with not everything being disclosed. The only real news to come out of Emirates this week has been as follows, something that as sailors we tend to agree with, it’s in the hands of the jury, so why keep going on about it.

Under rules of procedure for the America’s Cup jury, no party is permitted to comment on matters before the International Jury. 

Emirates Team New Zealand is surprised by comments made by the Regatta Director, particularly since, apart from his proposed unilateral changes to the AC72 class rule, all of his Recommendations have been implemented by the competitors agreeing to changes in the racing rule and Protocol. 

In addition, the competitors and the Regatta Director have agreed to remove minimum weight and center of gravity rules for the wing which would have required competitors to carry ‘corrector’ lead weights high up in the wing, a safety consideration that had been overlooked. 

We can confirm that Emirates Team New Zealand is fully compliant with the AC72 class rule. 

In fact the team complies with all 37 safety recommendations made by the Regatta Director without requiring changes to the class rule as it now stands. The team believes that any AC72 that does not comply under the existing rule should be modified so that it does. 

Emirates Team New Zealand has faith in the Jury process and do not wish to prejudice this by further comment.

by Emirates Team NZ


Emirates Team New Zealand looking flash – this is what Coutts and his team are scared of.


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