Grant Dalton has been saying it for almost a year, and in an interview with a NZ journalist the other day, Russell Coutts finally faced reality, admitting the AC72 is too pricey to accomplish their goals for AC34. “If we were doing the ‘72 again we would’ve put more regulations in place to reduce costs, but that’s the benefit of hindsight,” Coutts said.
Coutts may have finally come clean about the difficulties prospective teams face in order to compete, but in the meanwhile, his own house is in turmoil. The San Francisco plans have been scaled back to a shadow of their former glory, the ACWS format has been pared back in almost every way, and insiders are starting to waffle about previous comments they’ve made about China and Korea’s likely participation in the Cup. It’s not just the racing that’s being cut way back, either – a pile of people including half of ACAlphabet’s SF staff got the axe on Friday. ACEA chief Richard Worth got the boot, demoted to venue negotiator for the ACWS. Then a pile of very public AC personnel got flicked, including Comms Director Stephanie Martin and commentator Geordie “the yeller” Shaver. TV/Video production guru Gary Lovejoy is gone. Much of the fundraising team got eased. In short, the organization seems to be pulling its head in to weather the storm.
Perhaps most troubling for the event’s credibility was the selection of Kiwi Stephen Barclay as CEO of the ACEA, and not because he’s unqualified. The problem with Barclay is that he is Chief Operating Officer of Oracle Racing. Can you say “conflict of interest?” I thought you could, and it seems all those proclamations of organizational independence we’ve been hearing since the get-go are now worth precisely nothing. And with Ellison’s wallet closing fast, what other casualties will we see before Summer 2013?
Title nod to Adam Sandler for one of the funniest sports movie moments in history.