Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Team USA, is sailing’s most celebrated athlete and defending champion of the America’s Cup. His seemingly endless achievements in the water have set an unparalleled standard of excellence in sailing. He’s twice been named the World Sailor of the Year, but his most impressive accolades include a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics and 4 America’s Cup Champion titles – a perfect record in America’s Cup racing with 20 wins to 0 losses.
Amidst all of the ACWS excitement, Sir Coutts let Haute Living in on the secrets to his (and Oracle Crew’s) success.
Q Haute Living: What does the crew’s preparation for the America’s Cup entail?
A Sir Russell Coutts: There are four key things: Physical conditioning, race training, testing, and performance evaluation
These boats are incredibly physical to race. The athletes need strength, agility and important aerobic ability. They also need to condition themselves to minimize injury and hit target weights for the crew weight limitation rules. Race training is practicing set piece drills: mark rounding, maneuvers, boat vs. boat, rules scenarios, hoisting & lowering sails. You need to be ready to race under all circumstances. The crew that executes everything better than the rival will come out on top. It is a constant challenge.
I’m always competing whether I am sailing or not, I like challenges and every day is a new challenge for me.
Q HL: What makes the America’s Cup the most difficult trophy in sports to win?
A SRC: It tests everything that a sports team is required to do in a finite amount of time: Finance has to be raised. The most possible talented sailors, designers, engineers, boat builders, scientists have to be hired. All resources have to be managed to maximize their potential.
It is a combination of making a small number of pivotal decisions correctly and making sure that all the possible details are better than the opposition. And being more dedicated, more hard working and having more fun than the opposition.
Q HL: You’re a four time America’s Cup winner – what is your secret?
A SRC: Hard work, enthusiasm and passion for what I do.
Q HL: What does your day look like when you’re not competing?
A SRC: I’m always competing whether I am sailing or not, I like challenges and every day is a new challenge for me. My daily job as CEO of Oracle Team USA when I am on shore is to manage the team the best I can. The only time I’m not competing is when I am relaxing with the family. Though they might disagree!