America's Cup champ Coutts defends rules changes

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Not long after helping to sail one of the new America's Cup catamarans around San Francisco Bay for a few hours, four-time winner Russell Coutts scoffed at accusations by two foreign challengers that defending champion Oracle Team USA is benefiting from safety changes.

Coutts also defended regatta director Iain Murray, who said he was frustrated that Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy's Luna Rossa have protested his ability to recommend safety changes following the death of Andrew "Bart" Simpson in the capsize of Artemis Racing's 72-foot catamaran on May 9.

The Kiwis and Italians are unhappy with Murray's requirement that the high-performance boats have deeper rudders with larger winglets to give them additional stability.

Team New Zealand's protest is set to be heard Monday.