Russell Coutts: 'It's best that you not come'

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:50 28/07/2014
Russell Coutts
Reuters
ORACLE BOSS: Russell Coutts.

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Team New Zealand appear content to work on their own agenda as America's Cup holders Oracle build relationships with four potential challengers.

Oracle will meet with potential Italian, British, Swedish and French challengers in London next week to continue to work through details of the buildup and format for the next regatta, due for 2017 in either San Diego or Bermuda.

The quartet released a statement last weekend, voicing their support for the next America's Cup, a promising sign for Oracle who required four challengers to make the process viable.

Team New Zealand were a notable absentee from that release, and consequently, wouldn't be involved in the London talks.

Associated Press reported today that Russell Coutts, chief executive of Oracle Team USA, said the America's Cup Event Authority was working with the teams "to further define an event based on the published protocol".

Coutts said when he heard from another team that the Kiwis didn't want to proceed on that basis, "I rang them up and said, 'it's best that you not come'".

Team New Zealand intended to challenge for the next Cup, but didn't appear to be too interested in entering the politics that marked the leadup to these events.

Those politics recently cost Oracle its relationship with challenger of record Team Australia, who operating under the flag of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, decided to withdraw, citing a frustration with the process that had been tardy since the Cup was retained by Oracle last year.

If Oracle could keep the peace with the bulk of the challengers they would be able to proceed with their controversial protocol rather than have to work through that process again with a new challenger of record.

Presumably an official challenger of record would emerge from the London pow-wow with Italians Prada apparently head of that queue.

Team New Zealand remained reasonably comfortable with the current protocol describing the America's Cup as "quite winnable" under the latest set of rules.

Their designers were already immersed into working on concepts of the new 62-foot catamarans that would feature.

August 8 was the entry deadline for the next Cup, complete with a US$1 million (NZ$1.2m) fee.

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