America’s Cup: Returning to the start

Published on September 14th, 2020

Australian Jimmy Spithill has been the skipper and helmsman behind America’s Cup victories for Golden Gate Yacht Club (USA) in 2010 and 2013, but following his loss with the club in 2017, he has changed nationalities and is with the Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli for the 2021 edition.

Now 41 years old, he returns as the challenger, hoping to meet defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand from March 6-21, though non-committal as to what his role will be. “We’re going to nail down our crew once we get a bit closer to the racing.”

Currently the Italians are in limbo as they are shipping their first AC75 to Auckland and still waiting for their second boat to be completed before it is flown to the venue. However, with health restrictions, moving team members is a challenge too.

“We have to do it on a staggered basis because only so many people are allowed to land in New Zealand each day and it’s not just the 100 people on the team,” explained Spithill. “Take me – I have a wife and two kids, so it’s four of us. Our plan is to be operating in Auckland in mid-October.”

The Aussie was a challenger in 2000, 2003, and 2007 but never got to the America’s Cup match, finally confronting the defender in 2010 as the challenger in a Deed of Gift confrontation. For Spithill to compete for the next Cup, he must first get passed well-prepared teams from the UK and USA, admitting preference for the defense role.

“If I could choose, I’d be the Defender because you’ve got a 50 per cent chance of winning. Although being the Defender is also extremely difficult, because you have a target on your back and you have to help organize and run the event. As much as you try to separate the racing from the other side, that part still takes some energy. Plus, as the Defender, you just don’t get to race as much… but I’d still want to be the Defender.”

Competing in New Zealand is where his America’s Cup career began in 2000 as a 20 year old with Young Australia, showing his talent as the youngest helmsman leading an antiquated boat.

“New Zealand is an amazing place, and Kiwis really appreciate competitive teams. They respect nothing more than a team that leaves it all on the battlefield, like their own Team New Zealand or the All Blacks, and that’s what we aim to do on Luna Rossa too.”

Source: Scuttlebutt, Red Bull


36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition (CANCELLED)
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1


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