16 Feb 2010

Coutts promises a fair next America's Cup

7:11 pm on 16 February 2010

New America's Cup holders BMW Oracle have promised the next event will have fair rules for all competitors and independent officials.

The American's lifted the Cup yesterday with a comprehensive victory over holders Alinghi in a 2-boat multi-hull regatta.

BMW Oracle chief executive Russell Coutts -- the New Zealander who has never lost in 17 America's Cup races -- has confirmed Italians Mascalzone Latino will be the Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup, the team that will represent all other challengers.

Mascalzone Latino competed in the challengers series for the 2003 and 2007 America's Cups and are owned by colourful Italian shipping magnate Vincenzo Onorato, a close friend of BMW Oracle head Larry Ellison.

With Cup holders setting terms in consultation with the Challenger of Record under a 19th century "Deed of Gift", Coutts says Onorato also favoured independent event management and race officials but no official race "protocol" had been signed yet.

Coutts says it's an important step for all competitors and sponsors so they know it will be a fair competition for all.

Coutts added that he was also open to the idea of selection trials for the defenders, not seen since 1995.

Venues and dates have yet to be addressed but Ellison's native San Francisco will be a natural choice if sufficient space and infrastructure are available but there are other possibilities in the United States and elsewhere.

Coutts says no decision had been made on whether the multi-million dollar multi-hulls will race again or more traditional America's Cup class sloops, which would open the field to a wider variety of competitors and racing conditions.