Jimmy Spithill wants Australia back in the America’s Cup

America’s Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill of the Oracle Team USA. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos America’s Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill of the Oracle Team USA. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos
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Two-time America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill says he’d love to see Australia back competing in the world’s most famous sailing race after a 21-year hiatus.

Spithill skippered one of greatest comebacks in America’s Cup history when he led Oracle Team USA back from the brink to clinch victory in the final race of the famous San Francisco edition in 2013.

The 38-year-old was in the capital as the guest speaker at a sold out Canberra Yacht Club dinner, which was raising money for the charity Buoyed Up on Wednesday.

Spithill captained a young crew when Australia last contested the America’s Cup in 2000 and the Sydneysider wants to see the green and gold sails back in the water for the next race in 2021.

“I’d love to see an Australian team in the America’s Cup, if you look around the teams over the past few campaigns, you see Aussies littered throughout all of them,” Spithill said.

“We’re so associated with the water in Australia and I think the fact that the next one in is in New Zealand it wouldn’t be surprising at all [to see an Australian team].

“All the guys involved in that 2000 program have gone onto some pretty successful careers… I was very young and it was a real barebone campaign but it was a lot of fun… I honestly don’t know what my plans are right now, just keeping my options open.”

Reigning Sydney to Hobart winner Anthony Bell is widely expected to lead an Australian campaign to a berth at the next America’s Cup.

Bell steered Perpetual Loyal to a new race record after romping into Hobart last summer and Spithill backed the millionaire accountant to lead a successful America’s Cup tilt.

“He’s been pretty successful in a lot of his campaigns, certainly in the offshore world, they broke the Sydney to Hobart race record and I know he’s raised a lot of money for charity,” Spithill said.

“I know Anthony a little bit and he’s a really good bloke but I don’t know any of his plans, I’m kind of waiting to see where all the cards fall, there are a few different projects outside of the America’s Cup that I’m pretty interested in.

“Everyone in the sailing world is waiting on the final class rule, which is what the boat design is and that will come out in March next year, so before you commit to any sort of project or program you really need to know where the goal posts are.”

Two-time America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill led Australia’s last race in 2001. Photo: Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Spithill will race in this year’s Sydney to Hobart aboard Comanche, which won the title two years ago and finished second behind Wild Oats in 2014.

“We weren’t here last year but the year before we won and this will be our third Hobart race, it’s a great team and great line up and should be an awesome race if the weather plays its part,” Spithill said.

“The beauty of this race is there is a number of supermaxis that all have their strengths in different conditions and in the Hobart race you typically get a bit of everything at times, so it should be another really good one this year.”

Buoyed Up assists underprivileged children who are dealing with life challenges by building resilience and teamwork through sailing.

Spithill is also an ambassador for the Invictus Games and said it was important to give back.

“The Buoyed Up program is about giving kids who come from tough backgrounds or low socioeconomic areas and exposing them to sailing,” Spithill said.

“The great thing about sailing is kids can show a lot of bravado on the land, you play soccer or rugby, but the sideline is always right there.

“The beauty of sailing is once you leave the beach you’re on your own and that’s what’s great for young kids, even if all they do is go out and come back that’s a huge achievement and it teaches them to work in a team and gives them self confidence.

“People think of sailing as an elitist sport but I can tell you I’ve been successful in the game and I didn’t come from an elitist background and a lot of my teammates didn’t either.

“Funnily enough a lot of us have come through programs like this and it’s all about giving access to kids who may not necessarily have the means to join a sailing club and own a boat.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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