Sir Russell Coutts has spoken for the first time about how he and Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison decided to walk away from the America's Cup.

In an exclusive interview published on sailing website, top sailing journalist Justin Chisholm talked to Coutts following the launch of the new sailing circuit, SailGP.

Coutts recalled what happened after Oracle lost the Cup to Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda last year.

"Larry called me and asked me if I wanted to do the America's Cup again," Coutts said. "When I told him I didn't, he said he didn't want to either and suggested we should do something new.


"He loves sailing as much as I do and so we talked about the possibility of creating a proper professional sailing series. He agreed to underwrite it so that we could do it properly.

"Larry's belief was that we have learned so many lessons together over the last ten years that we have a really good chance of creating something successful.

"What we have with SailGP an idea totally without any handcuffs on. This is a blank sheet of paper and making what we believe are the best business decisions based on our experience and what makes logical business sense."

Coutts believes that the experience gained in the three America's Cup cycles will prove vital to bringing SailGP to fruition.

"I think that if I had been doing this 10 years ago, I don't think we would have been making as many of the right decisions," he said. "Now we have realised what works: in a broadcast sense, in an events and hospitality sense, on the branding and how we market an event like this.

"All of these things have evolved over time and it is hard when you are first getting into a new business to make all the right decisions, so I really think we stand a better chance at this today than we would have ten years ago."

The SailGP organisation has opened offices in London and San Francisco.

Only the British team was announced at the London launch but the other five team lineups – representing Australia, China, France, Japan and USA – are locked in and will be made public at individual country-centric events over the next three weeks.