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Americas Cup Press Conference Quotes

PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Tuesday, 22 February 2000

Russell Coutts, Skipper of Team New Zealand, on winning today: “We managed to get into a controlling position early in the start. We’ve been working on those aspects as a team for a long time now. For those of you that have been watching some of the practice sessions you’ll know that Dean Barker has been really giving us a big push and is a big help in the pre-start manoeuvres. I certainly think we’ve become stronger because of the work that we have put in as a team.”

Russell Coutts, on Luna Rossa’s problems: “We could see that they were trying to remove something. Whatever it was down below their keel, part of their keel or whatever. We were very upset to learn that one of the crewmen was injured, I saw the pictures, a lot of blood and so good news that he’s apparently okay.”

Francesco de Angelis, Skipper of Luna Rossa, on today’s race: “I don’t think it’s bad luck. It is something that can happen. The race was a bad start. Then when we were on port we took something on the nose of the bulb and we tacked to see if it would come off. It didn’t and then we had to stop. It can happen that you get something on the bulbs or wings.”

Russell Coutts, on why he didn’t attend the first press conference: “We sent three of our crew members. We approach this thing as a team. I don’t quite understand why there was all the fuss over it, to be honest, because they were three great sailors. The thing about Team NZ is that we really are a team, what more can I say. But I’m here today and hopefully that’s okay.”

Russell Coutts, on a comparison with Luna Rossa: “It’s still very early days. Today Prada was unfortunate to have something wrapped around their bulb but we feel it’s still very, very, even. We got the favoured side on the first beat and when they were up on our hip on the left-hand side they got a nice little puff and actually gained a little bit. So, I think it’s still very even and in the long term you just have to see us in a full range of conditions to understand just where we really are.”

Torben Grael, tactician of Luna Rossa, on boat speed today: “Well we were pretty happy with the speed and the way things were developing in the race. We had a tough start and managed to get in a split tack and had a little shift go our way and managed to have the race back. We were feeling pretty good and then that thing happened on the keel. It was very unfortunate. We are very happy with the performance of the boat and we are looking forward to the next race.”

Dean Phipps, bowman of Team New Zealand, on the value of in-house practise starts: “We’ve got to realise here that Dean Barker is a very accomplished match racer himself. He’s ranked 4th or 5th in the world so when you’ve got two people, as in Dean and Russell, in the same team you have some very close racing, and pre-starts especially. We have very tight pre-starts; it’s very even. Prior to kind of putting the A-Team onto NZL-60, Dean was winning a lot of starts. Then Russell kind of got going, and started to win a few. Dean is very accomplished. He’s got a good bunch of young guys around him and I think that’s a very strong aspect of our programme and our team.”

Russell Coutts, on pre-start manoeuvres: “I'm not sure how much I should say on this because we have put a lot of effort into it and we do think its important. But, I will say that there’s probably 90% of our crew, if not more, that could jump onto the helm in a pre-start and do a pretty reasonable job. Whereas three years ago, that was probably only 10 or 20% of our crew.

Russell Coutts, on the team effort: “First off there’s no real A and B team in Team New Zealand anymore. We have a squad of people and I think you’re going to see some rotation of the crews throughout this series. We developed various things on both boats and elected to use NZL-60 as it was probably a better match for the Italian boat. I’m sure NZL-57 is probably a better boat up-range than 60 – up-range meaning in stronger winds. So we selected 60.

Dean Phipps, on the closed circuit communication system: “It just works on a closed loop system that hearing-impaired people wear. It works within the boat. The people that are wearing them (earpieces) are basically the trimmers, Joey and myself. We pick up what Russell’s trying to achieve in the pre-start so he’s talking about “hold this position” to the trimmers and someone will flatten the jib. And “hold that position.” It’s basically instead of screaming like we did in ’95 over the helicopter noise. We’re trying to tune it down a bit.”

Russell Coutts, on Team New Zealand mistakes today: “In some ways it’s tough when you are sailing around the course with a big lead. It always tends to be those times that you may lose concentration for a little bit. These are big boats we are sailing around and if you make a mistake they’re usually big mistakes. We almost had a mistake with our leeward mark drop, the first time with the gennaker. Then our spinnaker pole almost went over the side and almost broke going upwind one time. There were a couple of other mistakes. It wasn’t a great day.”

ENDS


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