EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jimmy Spithill joins Luna Rossa Challenge

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Jimmy Spithill poses for a portrait in Sydney, Australia on December 16, 2016. –
Photographer Credit:
Brett Hemmings / Red Bull Content Pool

Two-time America’s Cup-winning skipper aims to bring the Auld Mug to Italy.

Australian skipper and helmsman Jimmy Spithill will be on-board Italy’s campaign for the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2021.

The two-time winner has joined Luna Rossa Challenge, a team he previously helmed to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Finals in 2007.

Spithill first debuted in sailing’s pinnacle event at the age of 20 before enjoying back-to-back America’s Cup wins with Oracle Team USA in 2010 and then 2013 in what was one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.

The 38-year-old, a multiple world champion in fleet and match racing, is now hungrier than ever to win back the Auld Mug after losing out to Emirates Team New Zealand in 2017. Read Spithill’s first interview since the news broke:

How does it feel to reunite with Luna Rossa Challenge after you helmed them to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals at the America’s Cup in 2007?

It’s great to be back with Luna Rossa Challenge – I have a lot of great memories from the four years we spent in Valencia during AC 32, and this time I have been impressed with the tools, technology and people they have in place. It’s a great mix of experience, new energy and enthusiasm in an open environment – the makings of a great team.

Jimmy Spithill onboard the F4 during a test-sail with Team Falcon in New York, NY, USA on 22 October, 2016. –
Photographer Credit:
Amory Ross / Red Bull Content Pool

You have a vast amount of experience and, presumably, a lot of learnings that you bring to the table?

Of course as a competitor you’re always learning, and since the last race of AC 35, I’ve been thinking every day about the America’s Cup. Naturally, you go over the previous campaign piece by piece, focusing on all the key moments and decisions during the four years. Lately I’ve been able to understand how a lot of the other teams operated, and that in itself is very educational.

Any conclusions?

Ultimately, two things stood out for me: trusting my instincts is key, and the hunger has only gotten stronger.

And speaking of your past experiences, your collaboration with Oracle Team USA resulted in some iconic sailing moments. When you look back at it, what comes to mind?

What an amazing ride, with some amazing people. Without Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, there is no way I could have gotten to this point in my career. I’m fortunate to have been able to work alongside some of the most successful people in sport and business, and lucky to be able to call them good mates. I look forward to catching up with them in the future.

It’s been announced that the boat for America’s Cup 36 is an AC75 monohull. First thoughts?

The boat is going to be a beast. 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.  


And what are your thoughts about moving to Italy?

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. 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.

Speaking of the culture, time for some quick-fire questions . . .

Your favourite Italian dish? Margherita bufala.

Pasta or pizza? Both.

Your favourite gelato flavour? Stracciatella.

Can you swear in Italian? Exceptionally well!

Your favourite Italian phrase from what you can speak of the language so far? Va bene.

Your favourite Italian football team? Juventus.

Public transport or Ferrari? Ducati.

Jimmy Spithill, portrait and book presentation in the King5 resort in Hallein, Salzburg, August 29, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Martin Steinthaler / Red Bull Content Pool

Editor’s Note: Jimmy Spithill’s highly anticipated, no-holds-barred book “Chasing the Cup: My America’s Cup Journey,” reveals the challenges and innate determination that have made him a successful sailor and an inspirational figure worldwide. Available now at retailers and online in hardcover and Kindle editions at Amazon.


Jimmy Spithill and crew test-sail the F4 with Team Falcon in New York, NY, USA on 22 October, 2016. –
Photographer Credit:
Matt Knighton / Red Bull Content Pool

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