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Monday, February 24
Updated: March 1, 11:42 PM ET
 
Alinghi's Coutts happy with boat, crew's experience

By Gary Jobson
Special to ESPN.com

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- ESPN's Gary Jobson sat down with Russell Coutts, skipper of Alinghi, for this interview during a lay day caused by a lack of wind.

Jobson -- Russell, how do these delays affect your team? How do you keep the momentum up? How do you keep everyone focused?

Coutts -- Well it's difficult, I mean really this delay is much much longer than any of us would like, so one of the tricks is to try and keep the team focused, so that when we do go out sailing again they're ready to go.

Jobson -- We've seen your boat in light air, medium air, and pretty heavy air against Team New Zealand. How do you access your boat's performance so far?

Coutts -- I think our boat's just fine. I think they're pretty even boats and the wind out there on the gulf can vary even if you are a 100 meters apart. So sometimes you get the impression that one boat is a little better than the other and then the next five minutes later you'll get the opposite impression. So I think these boats are very very close in performance, but I'm happy with our boat.

Jobson -- How important were some of the close races in the Louis Vuitton Cup to help you with, particularly, Race 2 of the America's Cup?

Coutts -- I think very important. I think, so far it's been one of the deciding aspects of, I'd almost go as far as to say, all of the races to date. I think that whole preparation throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup was very important.

Jobson -- What do you think of them bringing Bertrand Pace on board in place of Hamish Pepper?

Coutts -- Well, they're in the best position to judge the need for that and I certainly respect the abilities of people like Tom Schnackenberg in the group to look at the situation objectively and judging by my past experience, I think its probably a good decision.

Jobson -- Should the race committee be working harder to get races in?

Coutts -- We could have raced yesterday. We probably could have raced Thursday. So the answer is yes. Had it been any normal sailing regatta we probably would have been racing.

Jobson -- You were over at Team New Zealand last time. Do you think that Team New Zealand is in touch with the race committee and talking about whether or not to race?

Coutts -- For sure. Yeah, they'll be talking to the race committee, but really certainly yesterday's conditions right about two o'clock would have been nice sailing conditions.

Jobson -- You certainly looked good out there doing tacks and jibes at 9.2 knots?

Coutts -- Yeah we got 10 knots on our gauge for a while so that's pretty good breeze. I think the challengers would have started. They had the 7 knot limit and we had more than 7 knots for quite a while, and it's the same for both boats.

In 1977, Gary Jobson served as tactician to win the America's Cup for Ted Turner. ESPN's lead sailing analyst, Jobson will be providing ESPN.com with daily analysis throughout the America's Cup. E-mail him at garyjobson@cs.com or check out his Web site at jobsonsailing.com.





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