Induction Class of 1996

Sir Russell Coutts

New Zealand

1962 -

Sir Russell Coutts is the second foreign skipper ever to win the America's Cup. He sailed Team New Zealand's BLACK MAGIC to an unprecedented 37- 1 record in the trials, and an overwhelming five straight victories over Team Dennis Conner in the 1995 America's Cup finals. This New Zealander's extraordinary record includes a gold medal in the '84 Olympics, the longest stint ever as the World #1 Ranked Sailor (22 months), two World Match Racing Championships, 3 Brut Gold Cup victories, 18 international match race wins, and One Ton Cup and Two Ton Cup victories. In Auckland, where a staggering 85% of the country watched the Cup finals live on television, Russell was honored by Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander in the British Empire. The International Yacht Racing Union named Sir Russell Coutts 1995 World Sailor of the Year. Coutts successfully defended the Cup in 2000 as skipper of TEAM NEW ZEALAND winning all five races. After the defense, he departed Team New Zealand and joined Alinghi, an America's Cup challenger representing the Swiss yacht club, Societe Nautique de Geneve. As skipper of ALINGHI, Coutts defeated his former team 5-0 in the 2003 Cup match. Due to disagreements, Coutts left Alinghi in 2004 and did not compete in the 2007 Cup Match. He was hired by BMW Oracle Racing in 2007 to lead the team as its CEO. BMW Oracle Racing defeated Alinghi 2-0 in the 2010 Match, marking Coutts’s seventeenth consecutive America’s Cup win.