America's Cup: Bring back Coutts
America's Cup: What went wrong?
Love them or hate them it's technology that won the America's Cup for Oracle Team USA (OTUSA). If you take lots of money and couple that with the world's best sailing strategist in Coutts, the world's most successful Olympic sailor in Ben Ainslie, and a tough, aggressive helmsman in Spitall, only bad luck was going to lose OTUSA the cup - and that bad luck almost happened when they capsized and lost days on the water.
If OTUSA had those days back and entered race one with 100 days behind them, then all of the recent innovations like the auto-foiling would have been seen in race one, and it may well have been 9-0 to OTUSA.
Team New Zealand (TNZ) did extremely well and Barker and Dalton are no fools, but the technology available to OTUSA and the fact they had a best of 17, ample time to make up for a bad start, meant it was going to be tough. To say we got close is being nice.
The biggest issue for me is the fact the trustees of TNZ did not have the forward thinking required to see Coutts' vision to build a TNZ sporting dynasty. Three America's Cups later after Coutts left, Auckland has loss three mouthfuls of $800m, and all because we can't get our head around paying Coutts and co what they are clearly worth. To me that is the bigger issue.
AC34 should have been the third defence by TNZ in Auckland with Barker at the helm, Rod Davies and Butterworth doing tactics, Dalts on sponsorship, and Coutts as CEO, coupled with our very best 11 sailors. We should have been banking our $2billion dollar in revenue for the country - instead we could not get our heads around paying someone what they are clearly worth and swapped it for a "we can do this with number 8 wire". We needed to wake up 13 years ago when we had a chance to keep Coutts.
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