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America's Cup winner Spithill jumps ship to Luna Rossa

© AFP/File | Jimmy Spithill, who captured the America's Cup -- yachting's most prestigious title -- with Oracle Team USA in 2010 and 2013, has joined Italian syndicate Luna Rossa ahead of the next regatta in Auckland in 2021

SYDNEY (AFP) - 

Two-time America's Cup winner Jimmy Spithill has joined Italian syndicate Luna Rossa ahead of the next regatta in Auckland in 2021, the team announced Wednesday.

Spithill, 38, of Australia, captured yachting's most prestigious title with Oracle Team USA in 2010 and 2013 before surrendering "the Auld Mug" to New Zealand last year.

"With his huge sports and technical experience on high-performance sailing boats, Jimmy brings additional strength to team Luna Rossa," the syndicate said in a brief statement.

Spithill previously helmed the Italians at Valencia in 2007, when the Italians were eliminated by Team New Zealand in the challenger series.

After joining Oracle, he defeated Alinghi to win the Cup in 2010, then staged one of sport's great comebacks to defend it against New Zealand in 2013.

At 8-1 down, Oracle was one race away from defeat but Spithill refused to give up and secured a famous 9-8 victory.

However, the New Zealanders turned the tables in Bermuda last year and won 7-1, giving them the right to host the next regatta.

Oracle, backed by tech billionaire Larry Ellison, is yet to confirm its participation in the 2021 event.

© 2018 AFP