17 Jun 2017

Team NZ main barrier to Bermuda hosting - Coutts

5:45 pm on 17 June 2017

The head of the America's Cup event company, Sir Russell Coutts, has struck back after a report in Bermuda's daily newspaper suggested the regatta would leave the island nation even if Oracle Team USA won.

Sir Russell Coutts

Sir Russell Coutts Photo: Supplied

Public support for the defender in Bermuda is largely based on the belief that the event will remain on the island if Oracle Team USA win.

Coutts has a regular column in The Royal Gazette, which is a media partner for the event he runs. His latest piece has the headline 'Kiwis present greatest stumbling block to the Cup staying here'.

"Contrary to media speculation, Bermuda's chances of hosting the 36th Americas Cup are still strong if Oracle Team USA win," Coutts wrote.

"Obviously, there's no chance of the America's Cup returning to the island if New Zealand win."

The article in the The Royal Gazette

The article in the The Royal Gazette Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

The paper previously reported that elements in the Oracle camp had cooled on another cup being staged in Bermuda and that the island would instead be offered a round of the World Series racing.

However Coutts, in a carefully worded column, has underlined the uncertainty about the cup's future in Bermuda, with their being no guarantees.

"Should Oracle retain the Auld Mug, then Bermuda would be in the driving seat and have the first right of negotiations," he wrote.

"Other venues would be considered only if those negotiations weren't concluded satisfactorily," Coutts said.

His comments support those made to RNZ in April by the chair of America's Cup Bermuda, Peter Durhager, that there would have to be negotiations over a future event.

America's Cup defender sails by the crowds on shore at Bermuda.

America's Cup defender Oracle sails by the crowds on shore at Bermuda. Photo: ACEA 2017

Most of Coutt's column assessed the standard of racing, and the relative performance of the teams, but the headline gives a clear message Oracle and not Team New Zealand has the future interests of Bermuda more at heart.

Team New Zealand has made no secret that it would bring the cup back to Auckland if it won.

Bermuda committed up to $US77 million to host the regatta, as well as additional building costs.

The country faces a snap election on 18 July, with the opposition Progressive Labour Party, contesting the ruling One Bermuda Alliance's view that the event will bring lasting economic benefit.


Bermuda Photo: PHOTOSPORT

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