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America's Cup Final Preview


America's Cup Final Preview

RUSSELL COUTTS SKIPPER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Born March 1, 1962 New Zealand

You've been in this situation before - how do you approach it this time?

This is going to be a great event; the atmosphere will be incredible. Heading out there for the first race is always an experience but I think this one will be a particularly big atmosphere. Obviously with all the publicity and all the controversy surrounding the event this time, there is going to be a lot of interest in it and it's going to be a good race. Nobody is sure who is going to win.

Your opinion on both boats and both crews?

Well we think both boats have their merits, and they are both strong teams and it looks like its going to be a fantastic race. I think Team New Zealand look strong everywhere to me: a very good boat, a very good team. They have been working hard and they look well prepared, and for sure we are expecting them to be at the top of their game. At this stage, both teams have developed a lot and we are not expecting to know everything about them. I think there will be some things we will learn as the racing goes on and I am sure they will learn some things about us as well.

Does Alinghi starts thinking about the future or do you only focus on the competition ?

Obviously, as does any professional sports team, we've prepared the ground for the future, but our focus is right now is on the America's Cup Match and certainly in terms of the sailing team goes we are focusing on that.

I think this Louis Vuitton Cup has been one of the most competitive Louis Vuitton Cups yet, if not the most competitive, and I feel like our preparation has gone well, we are well prepared coming into this event and are looking forward to it.

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GRANT SIMMER DESIGN COORDINATOR Born May 18, 1957 Australia

You're going to participate to an America's Cup in a few days, as a designer this time - what does that represent for you ?

For us it's a culmination of all the work we've been doing over the last 2 1/2 years and it's exciting, particularly because the boats are so different. Obviously we are very proud with what we have achieved as a team and the boat that we've got. Winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in that boat has been a dream for us so far and now we just have to try and finish it off. I'm just proud that our group of designers has done such a good job.

Your point of view on the respective designs of NZL82 and SUI64...

We are surprised with some of the appendages that we have seen today on NZL82, it wasn't what we were expecting to see. Firstly the hull's themselves are very different, NZL82 is a much wider boat than SUI64 and it has the much publicized appendage on the aft part of the hull which they call the hula. The affect of the hula will be to try and lengthen the boat, but the downside is that you get the drag of the gap between the hull and the hula. We've done a fair bit of testing with that concept and obviously we decided not to go with it even though we had the resources to do something about it. Our boat is tailored for match racing, for maneuverability, for tacking and for the pre-start and they have had less emphasis on that aspect and more emphasis on straight line speed. They came today with a very long bulb, much longer than we expected. The advantage of that is to give them more righting moment upwind and less cross-sectional drag, less frontal area but a lot more wetted surface. That's bad for light winds, but good in strong winds. It is also bad for maneuvrability. They also have a smaller fin than we expected to see, much smaller keel fin than on our boat which was also a little bit of surprise.

Is there any change in the job of the designers between the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup?

There's not a whole lot the design team can do now. We can't modify our boat in a rating sense at all so we really became outside observers. We are looking with interest at the difference in performance and thinking about boats in the future all the time. We can also learn a little bit about the strengths and weaknesses of the other teams, in this case of Team New Zealand and give that information to the sailing crew so that they can adjust their tactics when dealing with the other boat.

Could you give a statement on your experience in this competition so far...

My role on the water is to be Jochen's tactician and I enjoy beating Russell and Brad tremendously, the more we can do that, the more we stir them up and fire them up. So over the last week we have probably beaten them 50 percent of the time and that's good, it puts pressure on them to concentrate on their game and just get better and better. Mind you I am glad it will be them on the water Saturday and not us racing.


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