Switzerland defenders Alinghi have asked US challengers Oracle to race the next America's Cup in July 2009 instead of October 2008, which the Americans want. The Swiss are late in the preparation phase.
BMW Oracle Racing, determined to up their game in time for the next America's Cup, announced Wednesday they had added fiery Australian helmsman James Spithill to their squad.
The 28-year-old Spithill was a revelation in the Louis Vuitton Cup off Valencia last summer, even though his Italian syndicate Luna Rossa ultimately lost out on an America's Cup final duel following a loss to Emirates Team New Zealand.
The Aussie joins skipper Russell Coutts and American tactician John Kostecki in an accomplished afterguard and Kiwi Coutts said he believed the new signings would bolster the Oracle assault on the next Cup.
"We have assembled a fantastic team who are not only experienced and talented but who have winning attitudes and are great fun to race with," said Coutts, who will share helmsman duties with Spithill.
"I have sailed with most of these guys on different projects over the years, and am really pleased to have had the opportunity to bring them together into one America’s Cup team. We are looking forward to getting out and doing some racing," Coutts added.
The Cup will be held either next summer or 2009 after a US court ruling Tuesday ruled in Oracle's favour against defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland by declaring the latter's choice of a Spanish Challenger of Record invalid.
That ruling sets the stage for a rare multihull duel between the holders and the American syndicate after Alinghi offered to race Oracle in July 2009 for the trophy.
Joining Spithill in the US team overhaul are 10 other recruits from the 2007 Luna Rossa challenge, while Jonathan Macbeth joins from Louis Vuitton Cup winner Emirates Team New Zealand.
The team began on-the-water training last week in Valencia in two Extreme 40 catamarans.
Spithill's aggressive starts helped guide the Italians into third in the round robin rankings and his tactical nous left Oracle floundering in the semis before the Kiwis proved too wily.
Spithill, who summed up his driving force in the words "I want to win, that's all there is to it" - was also a Louis Vuitton semi-finalist with OneWorld in 2003
He started out at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Pittwater outside Sydney and has long been touted as the man who can claim the mantle of Coutts, who himself led Team New Zealand to two titles before decamping to Europe to mastermind Alinghi's triumph five years ago and then joining Oracle.
Date created : 2008-03-20