New Zealand yachtsman Russell Coutts is Justin Chisholm’s guest on the second member-only episode of The Yacht Racing Podcast EXTRA.
Russell is arguably the world’s best known and successful professional sailor, so he really doesn’t need any introduction. But, for the record, his achievements include an Olympic gold medal in the Finn Class, three World Match Racing Championships, five America’s Cup victories, as well as a raft of world championship titles.
In October 2019 he and American software billionaire Larry Ellison launched SailGP – a brand new global high performance professional racing circuit using upgraded versions of the AC50 catamarans from the 35th America’s Cup.
The circuit found its feet in the first season but only got one event into the second season before the Covid 19 pandemic called a halt to any further events. Now though Coutts and Co are prepped and ready to go in 2021 with the first event of the season scheduled for April in Bermuda with a supercharged skipper line-up that includes: Ben Ainslie, Peter Burling, Jimmy Spithill, Nathan Outteridge, and Tom Slingsby.
Topics covered during the interview:
- Russell’s vision for SailGP and growing the sport of sailing
- His hopes for the success of the second season and the challenges of the global pandemic
- Why he felt sailing needed a ‘made-for-TV’ product like SailGP
- His personal and working relationship with Larry Ellison
- The lessons learned while planning a international sports event during a global pandemic
- SailGP’s future relationship with the America’s Cup