America’s Cup San Francisco defender ORACLE TEAM USA has barely put the boat in the barn after the victory last week and Australia has filed officially with its own yacht club as a challenger for the next Cup, which means Australians will probably sail for their own country not just the defender OTUSA. Most know the heroic never-say-die skipper, 33 year old Jimmy Spithill, father of two, hails from down under and says children are taught from a young age to never give up. The USA is more likely with the Australians sailing their own boat next time to have to compete with this determination which seems to get triggered especially when things look dire and insurmountable.
Related: OTUSA awards ceremony for America’s Cup SF
Most of the OTUSA team comes from Australia or elsewhere, with just one young American Rome Kirby; Simeon Tienpont coming from The Netherlands; and the veteran at age 37, four time gold medal winner Ben Ainslie, the Brit and English knight. It will be interesting to see if Ainslie, with no plans for the Olympics again and saying to media that he’s still suffering from some back problems, will end up as skipper of OTUSA. That would mean that the OTUSA skipper not only has intimate knowledge of how Kiwi skipper Dean Barker works, having been tactician for him in the past, but also how Jimmy Spithill works, say, as a member of the incoming Australian team.
A Bay Area racer Enere Levi had this too say today.
. . . and how about Spithill and the Oracle USA gang!
Truly a comeback for the ages…..that was as difficult to comprehend as it was unfathomable…….given that Oracle had over a year to train exclusively on SF Bay and race-tweak their AC72 to the unique conditions, all the while funded with unlimited resources — a singular privilege handicapping all of their competitors — yet they showed up at the America’s Cup Finals with a plodding pig, only to metamorphisize magically into a speedy elite thoroughbred with their backs against the wall, down 1-8 facing sudden death!
Unfathomable, indeed……and the Kiwis were unjustly
robbed by Mother Nature and fate…..and an unkind karma.
Somehow, even though I celebrate this improbable and historic American victory wholeheartedly…….it still leaves a bad, bad taste in my mouth.
Levi, who had watched the race while on his own boat, feathering around the course border and leeward marks adds:
Why that incredible performance and boat speed were not discovered before is an enigma……and I am sure Ellison will be putting the heat on his naval architects and design engineers to answer that glaring question……once the celebrating is over…….LOL! I’m very sure he will be making some personnel changes for the next America’s Cup.
Meanwhile. Ainslie just said that even at the OTUSA celebration of the greatest comeback in history, he and Iain Percy are still in mourning for the loss of teammate and fellow Brit Andrew Bart Simpson, who died on San Francisco Bay after an accident on the Artemis boat. Percy has just taken over management of the Artemis boat for the next Cup. The safety innovations and the wind limit stem from the accident. Simpson’s memory also goes on in art. A mural dedicated to Bart Simpson covers an exterior wall in Civic Center a few blocks from the symphony hall off Van Ness, at Post. It’s by art students.
Meanwhile. Many fans would love nothing more than to be able to cheer for an American team with Americans on it, as in the Red Bull Youth Challenge with gifted amature sailors. These young men tend to come from collegiate racing and have the Olympics on their mind. So in considering options and who to sail for, the Australian youth team in particular seemed cursed by technical problems with their AC45 during the inaugural Red Bull challenge. They would be starting Olympic training upon return home when the Red Buill Youth Challenge ended.
Racing writer Mark Reid poses the question of the next Olympics draining the talent pool in general that the America’s Cup enjoyed for the 34th Cup.
For more coverage of the Cup and SF Bay Sailing, download a copy of Latitude 38 for free at http://www.latitude38.com/ebooks.html.
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
Check out youth sailing around the Bay at www.SailSFBay.org, particularly the 75 year old program on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
For more stories by this writer check out CBS San Francisco’s website under Eye on the Bay, San Francisco arts & culture “Best Of”; and San Francisco Arts & Culture on ventwing.com. Subscribe by hitting the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.
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