1 Russell Coutts (sailing)
New Zealand sporting hero or bete noir? Sir Russell Coutts remains one of those rare New Zealanders who we can’t figure whether to celebrate or kick. What we do know is that he’s rich and getting richer.
The steel-eyed sailor is more a figurehead in the America’s Cup these days, but he is still a professional sailor competing on various circuits so meets the criteria for inclusion. Since winning Olympic gold in LA in 1984, Coutts has gone on to become a key figure in the America’s Cup, making some canny career decisions which led him to amass an estimated net wealth of over $100 million.
During the last Cup campaign, Coutts was said to be earning $13 million a year with Oracle Team USA. It was also rumoured he received a substantial bonus after masterminding Oracle’s stunning come-from-behind win over Team New Zealand in the 34th Cup match.
Having made his riches over two decades’ involvement in the America’s Cup, Coutts has built up an impressive property portfolio in New Zealand.
His most recent project is a 667sq m mega-mansion on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, which is under construction.
Over a period of eight years Coutts bought three neighbouring waterfront properties in Tindalls Bay, costing a combined $7.7 million. Earlier this year the houses were removed from the sections by barge, with earthworks on the section getting underway in June. The cost of the new build is estimated to be more than $2 million.
Coutts also owns an apartment in Takapuna worth over $1 million and several properties in the South Island, including three neighbouring titles in rural Queenstown. A house on one of the sections, in the Crown Range, near Arrowtown, burned down in 2009.
Early last year it was announced that Coutts was seeking to extend his private nine-hole golf course on his Crown Range property. The first part of the par 29, 1685m course designed by New Zealand golfing legend Greg Turner was completed in 2009.
In November last year one of Coutts’ companies, Larkhill Investments, bought a 265ha Omakau dairy property Manuherikia Valley, worth $14 million.
One of the keystones of his portfolio is commercial property, with Coutts owning a $38 million building in Central Auckland, and two commercial buildings in Northcote valued at more than $16m.
Coutts also derives a healthy income for his yacht design work, which includes intellectual property rights for his popular RC44 class.