I had the chance to meet the victorious America's Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill at the launch of the Annapolis Sailboat Show this week. Jimmy was on a tour following his recent win, and he still looked to be basking in the glory. He is certainly the closest thing to a celebrity in the sport of sailing, with appearances on Leno and The Colbert Report.
I asked him whether we will see any AC72s for sale on boats.com or YachtWorld any time soon. His response was, "It depends," I guess on how the format evolves for the the next cup. I find it hard to imagine any other organizations being able to foot the bill to get a boat like that on the water, but it would be amazing to see how far they could push these boats and what speeds are possible with more development time.
While he was coy about the next Cup, Jimmy did speak openly about the potential for technology to trickle down to new classes of foiling dinghies and club racing. It is clear he firmly believes in the high speed, thrills and spills format, and he thinks the foiling paradigm will bring new people into the sport—especially kids who have jumped into other high energy activities.
Gary Jobson, who was also at the event, was far more open about the Oracle USA comeback. He articulated a number of key boat changes that he thinks contributed to the comeback, namely:
- Moving weight aft to rebalance the boat
- Raking the wing further back
- Changing to a new set of smaller foils
- Additional monitoring of foil performance
Whatever the format of the new America's Cup, we are certainly in exciting times. It is great to have people like Jimmy and Gary taking the time and energy to engage with the sailing community.
The Annapolis Sailboat Show runs through Monday, October 14.
What do you think? Will foiling trickle down to local sailing and inspire kids to join our sport?
Read more about the Annapolis Sailboat Show:
- Annapolis Sailboat Show: 4 Must-See New Models
- This Powerboat Thing: It’s Pretty Overwhelming
- Boats We Love: Two Charter Catamarans
We also have collected some great America's Cup coverage and photos:
- America's Cup in Person: Worth the Trip
- America’s Cup 2013: A “Bit of a Shocker”
- America’s Cup Action Photos
- Louis Vuitton Produces Worthy America’s Cup Challenger
- America’s Cup 2013: A New Chapter
- The New America’s Cup: West Coast Style