Jimmy Spithill, former driver and CEO of the United States SailGP Team, has taken learnings from his first training session on board with the Australia Team at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas.
With Spithill replacing Tom Slingsby at the wheel, Australia is eager to defend their SailGP Dubai title and retain their place at the top of the Season 4 standings. Dubai will mark the first time Slingsby has ever missed a SailGP event as his wife, Helena, prepares to give birth. Sydney-born Spithill will step in to compete for Australia for the first time since 2001.
Spithill’s years of sailing expertise and leadership were on full display during the training session where he adapted well to the Aussie’s style of sailing, setting the stage for some electrifying racing this weekend.
Speaking on the first day of training Spithill said: “The biggest challenge is that the driver playbook for the Aussies is different to that of the USA Team, so it’s going to take some hours on the water to change my reflexes to align to that. The comms side of the day went really well which was helped by the fact that I’ve sailed a lot with Kyle Langford, Kinley Fowler and Sam Newton in the America’s Cup.”
Coming off his recent success in Cádiz, Spithill hopes to deliver something as extraordinary as the Australians achieved in Dubai last year. Tom Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team executed a miraculous comeback to claim victory in Dubai and extend their overall Season 3 lead in the final day of the stunning shoreside racing. Australia stormed back after an eighth place finish on day one to snatch the win from France and Great Britain in a nail-biting fight to the finish line.
Jimmy Spithill said: “My goal is to try and transition in as seamlessly as possible and get them a decent result. We need to be able to go into Sunday with a shot to get into the final. With Dubai it’s really flat water and light winds which means it opens it up to the whole fleet and every team racing here has a shot of winning.”
As anticipation builds for the official racing, all 10 international teams will engage in practice racing scheduled on Friday, providing a strategic opportunity for teams to assess their competitors on the iconic waters of Mina Rashid.
The Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas will air live on Fox Sports and on Kayo Sports this Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December at 9pm AEDT. For the first time, Kayo Sports are offering fans free access to a live stream of both days of racing via their TikTok channel.
The Australia SailGP team will return to home waters for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney for a record fifth time in February 2024. Tickets are on sale now for the not to be missed event of the Australian summer at SailGP.com/Sydney.