Monday, August 20, 2007

James Spithill joins TP52 Bribón for Portugal Trophy

[Source: Breitling Medcup] After a spell home in Australia, enjoying the post-Cup therapeutic effects of some garage and extension building work at his house, Luna Rossa’s highly rated helmsman James Spithill is back in Europe and ready to compete for the first time on the TP52’s Breitling MedCup Circuit, the best fleet racing circuit in the world.

Spithill will be a more than capable deputy for Bouwe Bekking on the helm of Jose Cusi’s Judel Vrolijk designed Bribon.

“I had my first sail today and it was great. I have never sailed these boats before but they felt just great, like big dinghies. It was so nice to go out and do some real planing.” Smiled Spithill as he joined the line to weigh in at the Marina Portimao on Portugal’s Algarve, where the circuit’s fourth event the season, the Portugal Trophy starts Tuesday with 19 boats set to line up.

With the late afternoon breeze building to a comfortable 20 knots these were what are promised to be typical conditions as the MedCup circuit extends out of the Mediterranean waters for the first time in search of more breeze and excitement.

James Spithill aboard the TP52 Bribón. Portimao, 20 August 2007. Photo copyright Thierry Martinez

“It’s probably back to the Melges times when I last went racing in a planing boat. It should be a lot of fun, planing and asymmetrics. They are really nice boats. They react well, just like big dinghies and so nice after the big displacement Cup boats. I was really impressed with the guys on Bribon, I just stepped on and the boat handling is really good and everything. This a chance I jumped at and Ross (McDonald, tactician) and the guys seem really good. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

“It is great to be racing again. I am in Europe now for about a month, doing this and then some RC44 sailing and some match racing. I really enjoy the fleet racing, and just racing. That is just one of the things about the America’s Cup, is that you just don’t get that many opportunities. I think it is such a good thing for Cup teams to get out and do some racing. We did it with the Melges 24, got a core group together and went out and did a lot of open racing, there is a lot of value to it. I think you will start to see a lot of Cup teams going out and doing this sort of racing, the technical boat speed development, because you just don’t get that in Match racing.”

“I have been close to Portugal before, in Bayona, but never here before. I have heard a lot about it and heard the ISAF Worlds were really good.”

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