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American sailing syndicate hires a star

JULY 26 —America’s Cup racing wrapped up weeks ago, but the drama has hardly subsided.

Larry Ellison, whose well-financed BMW Oracle Racing syndicate has come up short in the last three America’s Cup regattas, went out and hired three-time Cup winning skipper Russell Coutts to lead the American syndicate’s next campaign.

“Taking up this new challenge gives me a leadership role with an outstanding team,” Coutts, 45, said at the Tuesday press conference announcing the hiring of a Team CEO who has lost only once in match races and who is 14-0 in the America's Cup final.

Coutts replaces fellow Kiwi sailor Chris Dickson following a 5-0 dismissal in the semi-finals of the challenger selection series to the Italian syndicate Luna Rossa.

The announcement comes as the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the challenging club behind BMW Oracle, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court (which has jurisdiction over the America’s Cup Deed of Gift). The suit calls for the court to invalidate the challenge for the Cup by Club Nautico Espanol de Vela (CNEV), claiming that the new club was “specifically created to collaborate with the Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG) club that backs the two-time Cup champion team Alinghi of Switzerland.

The BMW Oracle and several other syndicates are calling for a “more fair” process for rule-making leading up to the next challenge for the America’s Cup.