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AC36: From AC boss to head of a small yacht club


AUCKLAND – "He [Russell Coutts] can be commodore as long as he wants the job," [Harold] Bennett said. "We don't have set terms here. He's said he's done with the America's Cup so has time and he's also said he needs something else to get his teeth into. All of a sudden, he's like a big dog with a bone." –From an article in today's New Zealand Herald. Harold is a long time friend and esteemed former AC Principal Race Officer whom your Ed. first met when Harold was coaching RC at the 1984 Olympics.

Russell won a gold medal in the Finn Class after passing, barely, the post-race weighing of his wet sailing clothes after the final race. It took three different weighings, with team manager Ralph Roberts (thanks, Penny!) re-arranging the clothing on the scale's hanger after each attempt. Your Ed. was Jury Secretary and observing on behalf of the International Jury (photo above). It was all legit but, as they say, a close shave.

As to RC leaving the Cup, I'll believe it when I see it. As to having the commodore's job as long as he wants it, apparently RC has learned a thing or two from Norbert Bajurin. What's next, a book like The Billionaire and the Mechanic? Any of our waggish Dear Readers have a suggestion for the title?

The clever caption that accompanied this photo in the NZH, "Russell Coutts will have a significantly lower budget to work with at the Manly Sailing Club." Photo: Getty