Sailing: Spithill relishes Italian adventure and beast of a challenge


LONDON (Reuters) – Twice America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill says the lure of Italy and the challenge of sailing a cutting-edge monohull ‘beast’ were behind his decision to return to the competition with Luna Rossa Challenge.

Sailing – America’s Cup Finals news conference – Hamilton, Bermuda – June 16, 2017 – Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill speaks at news conference. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The Italian team announced on Tuesday that Spithill would be their skipper for the next America’s Cup in 2021.

For the Australian, who guided Oracle Team USA to consecutive victories in 2010 and 2013, it will mean a homecoming of sorts, after he helped Luna Rossa reach the finals of the Louis Vuitton Challenger series in Spain back in 2007.

“Last time with Luna Rossa Challenge it was the Valencia campaign and we moved straight to Spain – this time I’m looking forward to living in Italy,” said Spithill.

Sailing – America’s Cup Finals – Hamilton, Bermuda – June 17, 2017 – Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill and crew compete in race two against Emirates Team New Zealand in America’s Cup Finals. REUTERS/Mike Segar

“Personally I’ve had a lot of success racing and competing in Italy, and lifestyle and especially the food are awesome. I love the Italian culture, the landscape and the people. I have to admit, though, that I will need to work on my Italian.”

The 2021 America’s Cup will be raced in fully foiling 75-foot monohull boats that will represent a massive challenge, according to Spithill.

“The boat is going to be a beast,” he said in an interview on Red Bull Content Pool. “It reminds me of America’s Cup 34 and the AC72 foiling catamarans. Nothing like this had been done before, and this boat is on the cutting edge of technology.

“There are a lot of unknowns with the AC75, which will push people to the limit and really challenge all the teams involved. However, this challenge and difficulty is really appealing, and I’m really excited to be back in the game.”

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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