This month, two-time America’s Cup-winning skipper Jimmy Spithill will face off in preliminary clashes against the 2021 lineup for a new team – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. He’s also got big news about a fresh tack he’ll be taking after the America’s Cup trophy is awarded in March. The latest:
AUCKLAND (New Zealand) – December 8, 2020 – A new sailing season is just days away in Auckland, and sailing legend Jimmy Spithill is preparing to do battle in the only regatta that will put him and his Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team on the water alongside defending America’s Cup champions Emirates Team New Zealand before the 36th America’s Cup begins. Meanwhile, SailGP today announced that Spithill has signed on to become CEO and helm of the United States SailGP Team, where he will lead the US contingent in the fight for sailing’s largest monetary prize – 1 million USD – and, more importantly, work to revitalize American sailing by growing the country’s best talent.
The Prada Cup selection series that will determine the America’s Cup challenger begins in January, but in the meantime, the Prada America’s Cup World Series and Prada Christmas Race will give the teams a valuable chance to test themselves, and each other, in racing action on the same waters.
Adding to the excitement is the new AC75, a revolutionary monohull with hydraulic foil arms that handles unlike anything the America’s Cup has seen before. Insiders expect jaw-dropping speeds, and Spithill has described that on the boat, the 11-person crew can feel like they’re in a hurricane. While fans on shore have thrilled to see training runs, for the teams, the effort is immense.
The America’s Cup Word Series and Christmas Race in Auckland take place December 17-20, 2020.
Spithill’s thoughts on joining SailGP
Taking on the new role of CEO and helm with the USA’s SailGP Team seems a perfect fit for Spithill, and not only because the Australian native makes his permanent home in San Diego, California. Spithill skippered Oracle Team USA in the past two America’s Cup matches, including the 2013 triumph in San Francisco, where he engineered one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
SailGP’s high-level racing suits him, too. National rivals race identical F50 catamarans capable of exceeding 50 kts (nearly 60 mph/100 kph). Among the eight teams, Spithill will face Olympic and America’s Cup champions like Sir Ben Ainslie for Great Britain, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke for New Zealand, Nathan Outteridge for Japan, and Tom Slingsby for Australia.
“SailGP is one of the pinnacle events in our sport that combines cutting-edge technology with exciting, dynamic racing in iconic venues spread around the world,” said Spithill. “As a competitor, an annual championship that draws in the world’s best professional sailors is where you want to be. I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to represent the United States once again.”
He continued, “Our first step is to create a winning team, and we will use that as a catalyst to re-energize sailing in the US. Having raced under the American flag for a significant part of my professional career, this opportunity is – for me – all about creating a pathway that allows us to identify, develop and train the best US talent. I’m excited to be building an American team that is able to compete with and win against the best of the best, both now and for years to come.”
The United States SailGP Team is slated to begin pre-season training in April 2021, prior to the start of the season at the Bermuda Grand Prix presented by Hamilton princess on April 24-25.
Photocredit: Lloyd Imagesfor SailGP and Samo Vidic for Red Bull Content Pool
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