America's Cup: Coutts v Dalts showdown seems unlikely

By Dana Johannsen

Russell Coutts (pictured and Grant Dalton are not likely to go head to head. Photo / Gilles Martin-Raget
Russell Coutts (pictured and Grant Dalton are not likely to go head to head. Photo / Gilles Martin-Raget

The eagerly awaited "Coutts v Dalts" pre-America's Cup showdown doesn't look as though it will eventuate.

After the most tense and controversial build-up to an America's Cup in the 162 years of the event, most were expecting fireworks when the two main agitators - Oracle Team USA chief executive Russell Coutts and Team New Zealand's niggly boss, Grant Dalton - came face to face at the opening press conference today.

But the pair will not be appearing together at the America's Cup Park today, with organisers inviting Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill and tactician John Kostecki, along with Team New Zealand's Dean Barker and wing trimmer Glenn Ashby to the media call. With Kostecki and Ashby both considered nice guys of the sport, and Barker generally about as lively as turtle at these type of press events, there is little hope of a fiery precursor to the grudge match on the water.

As was discovered at a charity dinner in Auckland in early May, put Coutts and Dalton on a stage together and they just can't help but niggle at each other, although intriguingly it was recently revealed the two yachting adversaries have never had a meaningful one-on-one conversation.

Their fractious relationship is fairly recent, with Dalton openly critical of some of the decision-making by the Oracle boss and his vision for the Cup. Coutts has fired plenty of shots of his own back at Dalton, including poking fun at the 55-year-old's decision to join the crew.

"There's nobody in New Zealand he can find that's better?" Coutts scoffed.

Dalton was reminded of the dig at a Team New Zealand media call earlier this week, and defended his position on the boat.

"For me running the whole team and the whole development of the campaign and trying to meet with people and have intelligent conversations about speed enhancements and directions of where we head in terms of design, I fundamentally just don't see how you can do that without being on the boat," he said.

Dalton did have one small jibe for his Oracle Team USA counterpart, who rejects claims that his syndicate has double the resources of the Kiwis.

"They're crying that we spend the same amount of money as them, it's just nonsense. Their budget is massively higher."

- NZ Herald

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