AC World Series San Francisco Preview – ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS

America's Cup World Series San Francisco © Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA


America's Cup World Series San Francisco © Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA


America's Cup World Series San Francisco © ACEA 2012 / Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget


America's Cup World Series San Francisco © ACEA 2012 / Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget


Note: With the second AC World Series San Francisco fast approaching (Oct. 2-7), we’ll be previewing the teams that’ll be competing in the lead-up to racing.

Crew: Russell Coutts (skipper/helmsman)

Some might find it bemusing that a four-time America’s Cup champion can be second fiddle to someone nearly 20 years younger, but such is the plight of Russell Coutts. The CEO of ORACLE TEAM USA has willingly taken a backseat to team skipper Jimmy Spithill as the reigning America’s Cup champs look to win the trophy again in 2013.

America's Cup World Series San Francisco © Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA


Coutts, however, takes the helm of the team’s No. 5 AC45 for the World Series regattas, and he can’t be taken lightly on the racecourse. He’s won back-to-back match racing championships at Newport and San Francisco, in both instances beating Spithill.

The victory in San Francisco was a thrilling race, with the lead changing hands four times before Coutts pulling it out by 1 second.

“The old dog’s still got some old tricks,” says Coutts.

When it comes to the fleet racing championships, Coutts is his own worst enemy. Coutts has missed two races at each of the past two regattas due to his own errors. In Newport he damaged rigging when he hit a mark boat, and in San Francisco in August he hit the committee boat so hard during a start that he put a hole in the starboard bow of his boat and left a chuck of the bow impaled on the committee boat (see Best Hits by Russell Coutts video library).

Prediction: It would be surprising if Coutts didn’t make a run at the podium for the match racing, and if he can stay on the water he’ll figure in the mix for the fleet racing as well.