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Just call him Jimmy—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 4 Jan 2012


If you’re a Cup fan, it’s impossible not to know the name James Spithill, the Aussie-born helmsman for Oracle Racing. The guy is a legend: At 19 he was the youngest helmsman to campaign for the Cup, and at 30 he was the youngest driver to win the AC, aboard BMW/Oracle’s 90-foot, wingsail-powered trimaran. Plus, he was a driver in the storm-swept 1998 Sydney-Hobart Race, giving him serious offshore credentials, and he has excelled at every class in which he has competed.

'My mates call me Jimmy—it’s kind of a nickname,' says Spithill who admits a fighting instinct a mile wide. 'Pretty early on I took up boxing,' he explains. 'When you go around with red hair, you don’t have a choice. Either you’re a punching bag, or you say, ‘Enough is enough.’' Learn more about Spithill’s background and personality in Paul Olivia’s profile piece on 'Jimmy', inside this issue.


Also, check out 'Jimmy’s' involvement with A-Class catamarans, as well as the update from the Australian A-Class Championships, which are currently taking place, and where Spithill is currently racing. Spithill talks at length about the solo cats and the Made for Television nature of the AC products.


Speaking of fast multihulls, Loick Peyron and his Banque Populaire V crewmates are tracking beautifully to establish an impressively quick new Jules Verne Trophy time for the fastest nonstop circumnavigation. 'We are delighted with our current status and keeping everything crossed that we can enter the record books later this week,' reported crewmember Brian Thompson, who is now completing his fourth non-stop 'lap'. 'Believe me, the exhilaration of being onboard Banque Populaire V is like nothing else I have experienced!' Get the full report inside, and stay tuned to the site as Banque Populaire V approaches her finishing line.

And speaking of making a ‘lap’, Team Sanya is close to having their rig refitted with new standing rigging, after an unfortunate breakage cased them to stop racing on December 19 during the second leg of the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race. Once the new rigging has been tuned and tested, the team will resume racing. 'We’re looking forward to seeing the good ship Sanya set off from Fort Dauphin in a few days and getting racing again,’’ said Frano Tregaskis, Team Sanya’s rigger. 'Never a dull moment in this campaign, that’s for sure.’’ Get the full scoop from Team Sanya, as well as other VOR happenings and news, in this issue.

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Also inside, get the latest reports from the Clipper Around the World Race, the Global Ocean Race, and the Opti Worlds. And finally, be sure to check out AC publicist Peter Rusch’s look astern at four key moments during last year’s America’s Cup World Series events. Enjoy.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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