America's Cup: Sir Russell Coutts the man who can save Oracle, says former boss Tom Ehman

America's Cup veteran Tom Ehman says Sir Russell Coutts remains the smartest person in sailing.
REUTERS

America's Cup veteran Tom Ehman says Sir Russell Coutts remains the smartest person in sailing.

He may have moved to a front office role but expect Sir Russell Coutts to play an integral part in Oracle's bid to save the America's Cup, according to former team executive and America's Cup expert Tom Ehman.

After falling 3-0 behind Team New Zealand in the battle for the Auld Mug, Oracle have five days to dig themselves out of their hole before racing resumes on Saturday (Sunday NZ time). 

Ehman, a former director of external affairs for Oracle and 35-year veteran of the America's Cup, does not believe the defenders will ultimately catch the Kiwis. However, with a genius like Coutts at their disposal, they cannot be counted out.

While the five-time America's Cup winner stepped away from the sailing operations to take up a commercial role with Oracle and head up the America's Cup Events Authority, that will not stop him from personally overseeing their recovery mission.

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Former Oracle director of external affairs Tom Ehman.
ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS

Former Oracle director of external affairs Tom Ehman.

"Russell is still one of, if not the smartest person in the sport. Russell will be heavily involved because his boss Larry Ellison will insist that he become re-involved in the team," Ehman told Radio Sport. 

"I saw it happen last time when I was involved in helping to run the event. At that point, Russell re-involved himself again intensively and he will do that over the next five days.

"This is what he is best at. Until somebody beats him, he is still the best team leader in the business. He will have re-engaged himself not just at Larry's insistence but of his own volition and he will be heavily involved in trying to get Oracle back on a winning pace."

Founder and editor of Sailing Illustrated, Ehman originally predicted Oracle to beat the Kiwis 7-3.

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But New Zealand's dominance in the light to medium winds, and the defender's lack of speed, has convinced him to change his mind.

"My prediction is not looking very strong right now," Ehman said on Radio Sport. "On the strength of four wins in a row and also looking at the forecast, if it's light to medium winds, you gotta believe the Kiwis are going to win this."

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 - Stuff

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