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Powered by SAIC (, an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

(In the he following message from Russell Coutts, we hear the other side of
the story.)

I was surprised to receive a brief phone call from Ernesto Bertarelli's
lawyers this evening which was apparently immediately followed by a media
release issued by Mr Bertarelli's staff. The facts are that some time ago I
had made it very clear to Ernesto Bertarelli that I had some very real
concerns about aspects of his management style and the direction of the
team. These concerns were based on my experience as a skipper and in a
leadership role in my last three America's Cup campaigns. They centered on
aspects of management that I had found in my own leadership experience to
be successful.

In the course of working with him, I was surprised that Ernesto Bertarelli
repeatedly made it clear he wanted to depart from our previously agreed
commitments. Most seriously, I was concerned at the impact of this
management style not just on my contract, but on the wider America's Cup
event. I found the role he increasingly insisted I occupy in the syndicate
was at considerable variance with the one we had discussed - at length -
during and since the last America's Cup campaign. This and other issues
were clear breaches of the contract I had entered into with him.

In an attempt to address these issues we entered into formal mediation and
have been in mediation for some time - a process I had understood to be
still underway. In light of this, I have been surprised by the way he has
first insisted on a rule change and then by his decision to issue my
dismissal. I believe the retrospective rule change Ernesto Bertarelli
engineered is indicative of the management style he favors - and one that,
quite simply, I cannot agree with.

What's more, an email he circulated to the Alinghi team is frankly
misleading. In the email he refers to comments I am reported to have made
to selected Italian newspapers -- comments which, as I had deliberately
made clear to him were in fact very substantial misrepresentations of what
I had said. As Ernesto knew, I had also written to the main newspaper
concerned immediately after the story appeared, and in good faith I copied
this letter to Ernesto. In the same way I believe talks I have had with
Paul Cayard about ideas for a future event have now been exaggerated. I
have made no secret of the fact that Paul and I have been talking about
these ideas, which I thought might provide an exciting new event in sailing
that, if it ever came off, would in no way be in competition to the
America's Cup.

From a sailing point of view, I have to say that despite the way it has
ended, Alinghi for me has been a terrific experience. I have hugely enjoyed
working with the whole team and wish them all every success for the future.
For my own part, I am committed to sailing in several upcoming regattas in
Europe over the coming months. It is true that I would have very much
liked to have sailed in the next America's Cup. However the new rule change
combined with this dismissal appear to preclude this. I also believe the
new rule change will be damaging to the sport in general as it unfairly
limits sailors' freedom and will make it very expensive for new teams to
contract with team members.

Whatever I do next in sailing, I hope to play a role that helps to continue
to build the sport. - Russell Coutts