Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

America's Cup: Jimmy Spithill leaves Oracle to join Italian syndicate Luna Rossa

America's Cup: Jimmy Spithill leaves Oracle to join Italian syndicate Luna Rossa

Now competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, Tuke wouldn't say whether or not he and Olympic partner Peter Burling would be looking to defend their gold medal in Tokyo in 2020, however he hinted that the America's Cup was a high priority for the duo.

Kiwi sailor Blair Tuke has welcomed the strengthened challenge from Luna Rossa in the next America's Cup, with the Italian syndicate announcing the return of Australian Jimmy Spithill.

Spithill famously defended "The Auld Mug" with a remarkable comeback in San Francisco before crashing out to Team New Zealand's inspired challenge in Bermuda past year.

With Burling at the helm and Tuke trimming the foils in Bermuda past year, Spithill more than met his match as Team New Zealand romped to a 7-1 victory, but Burling is expecting his rival to pose a fierce challenge on board Luna Rosa.

Spithill skippered Oracle Team USA to consecutive landmark America's Cup victories.

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.

"It's been pretty well flagged out there that Oracle will not be back, but with Spithill walking and changing teams, I'd say that that's the end of Oracle".

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"But he's a good character to have back in the game".

"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.

New Zealand will play host to the 49er, 49FX and Nacra 17 World Championships late in 2018, which many teams, including New Zealand, expecting to use it for Olympic selection.

"Kiwis love to hate him. It will be good".

In light of Spithill's move, Oracle's potential to compete in the 2021 regatta has become increasingly unlikely.

But with speculation Oracle will not contest the regatta, Burling felt Luna Rossa was the logical choice. "It reminds me of America's Cup 34 and the AC72 foiling catamarans".

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