Harken Derm

Sailing ‘as tough as the NFL’

Published on February 21st, 2017

Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Oracle Team USA, says the America’s Cup has moved on to such a degree that his 14-strong sailing team are bigger and better than ever.

“Where we are today, it’s a real athletic game,” said the Australian. “The physical load and limits that the athletes take is like nothing else we’ve seen in this sport and it now rivals NFL, basketball and a lot of those physical sports.”

Spithill and his crew have spent months in the gym bulking up and getting in shape for the rigours of the hugely physical, foiling catamarans, which are 15 metres in length and capable of reaching speeds approaching 54 knots

And the speed as well as the physicality throws up its own issues.

“You reach your maximum limit physically and exhaustion very very quickly and then you need to make decisions when exhausted and under stress,” Spithill said. “You know we don’t get time outs, there’s no half-time nor outside assistance like every other sport.”

Editor’s note: A tricky debate on which sport is more physical but this video might help the NFL players win the discussion.

Background: The 35th American’s Cup has attracted six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) that will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, with a series of qualifiers beginning on May 26, 2017 that lead to the start of the America’s Cup Match on June 17, 2017. Complete schedule.

Source: Red Bull Media

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