Jimmy Spithill, two-time America’s cup winner, chats about injury, age and Kiwi rivalry. Fighting fit and ready for another charge on the iconic ‘Auld Mug’, America’s Cup trophy, this 40-year-old Australian sailing legend is relishing the opportunity to once again go up against his New Zealand rivals with his new team for the 2021 edition of the Cup, Luna Rossa.
As the design and competition race hots up, Spithill spoke about his new challenge, of turning 40 and the future of the America’s Cup.
With an already extensive resumé, Spithill admits that he thinks he could have done a lot more with his sailing, but expresses his excitement for what lay ahead, ‘I’ve got a couple of really cool projects I’m looking at following the America’s Cup.’ This excitement is matched with his growing passion for the sport as he explains how his motivations are burning brighter than ever, ‘Once you achieve goals, the adrenaline and satisfaction you feel is very addictive and you want to push further.’
He recently recovered from surgery after tearing a tendon in his elbow after getting involved in some sports outside of sailing as well as tempting the physical limits each sailor has on the boat. However, Spithill still feels on top of his game and admits, ‘It has taken me 40 years to figure it out. In the past I could get away with not recovering properly or not eating right and this led to injuries. Recently, I went through intensive testing to understand my diet. I found out I was actually intolerant to a lot of foods, which was leading to inflammation in the gut and inflammation in my body, and then tearing tendons etc.’
A New Team, A New Goal
Jimmy raced with Team Oracle USA for 3 America’s Cup Challenges and is now returning to skipper the Challenger of Record entry, Luna Rossa, for the 36th Americas Cup series.
He admits that at first it was a difficult change and that starting all over again has taken some getting used to as he sets up new ways of doing things at Luna Rossa and getting an understanding of how the different people and personalities work, but also admits that it’s a great learning opportunity and another shot at the Cup. He adds, ‘Regardless of your role in the team, the boats are daunting. They are really pushing the boundaries now and it should be pretty cool to see them foiling at big speeds.’
As the technology improves and teams become more and more advanced within their campaigns Spithill explains that, ‘Like F1, the America’s Cup has always been about pushing technology, engineering and the athletes. This one is no different.’
Luna Rossa Launches in Cagliari
In line with his interview the revolutionary AC 75, Luna Rossa officially touched the water on 2 October at Cagliari’s Molo Ichnusa, where the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team is based. She will represent Italy in the challenge for the world’s oldest sailing trophy.
Marking the ceremony on the wrists of the members of the Luna Rossa sailing team was the Panerai Submersible Luna Rossa – 47 mm, part of the collection the Florentine luxury watch brand has dedicated to the Challenger of Record in its role as official sponsor.
“Panerai has always flanked modern heroes in their exploits by providing them with exceptional precision instruments for their most extreme challenges,” said Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué. “We could not be happier to have our watches on the wrists of the Luna Rossa sailing team to face the road to Auckland together”.
Spithill has had no shortage of rivalry with the Kiwis over the years and admits, ‘I’ve had some awesome battles on the water over the year with the Kiwis, and I’m looking forward to a few more.’ When asked if he thinks Luna Rossa can be the No.1 Challenger he modestly adds, ‘At the moment I don’t think anyone can rank the teams until they line up for the first time in Cagliari in April for the first World Series event.’
With this rivalry in mind he was asked if he felt as though he ‘has a target on his back in Auckland’, the host of the America’s Cup 2021. ‘I think Kiwis respect someone who doesn’t give up, who fights for everything on the field of play, but who ashore is honest and candid when asked a question. I’ve always had a lot of fun in New Zealand, and I can’t wait to get back there.’
Adapted from a piece by Red Bull Content Pool