Monday, June 23, 2008

Spithill wins Jaeger-Lecoultre Just the Best Trophy

[Source: BMW Oracle] Spithill and Co. earn top prize at catamaran match race event. After three days of closely fought match racing in X40 catamarans off Italy’s east coast, James Spithill and his BMW ORACLE Racing crew took home the Jaeger-Lecoultre Just the Best Trophy.

In doing so, Spithill defeated his teammate and skipper Russell Coutts who was calling tactics for Pete Melvin, an American leading multihull sailor and coach for the team. In the three-day, 11-race series in Cattolica on the Adriatic Coast, the face-off between Coutts and Spithill came down to the final day.

”It was extremely close racing,” Spithill said. “In the first day, Pete and Russ dominated. We were able to pull off a couple of wins and then it really came down to the final day. Russ and his guys pushed us all the way.”

Sailing with Coutts on the “White Team” was Simeon Tienpont (NED), Max Sirena (ITA), and USA multihull coach Pete Melvin. Spithill’s “Blue Team” included John Kostecki (USA), Dirk de Ridder (NED) and Alan Smith (NZL).

James Spithill and Russell Coutts race in the final day of the Jaeger-Lecoultre Just the Best Trophy. Cattolica, 22 June 2008

For the final three races on Sunday, there were plenty of spectators and 12-14 knots of breeze and brilliant sunshine. “It was a picture-perfect day in Italy,” Spithill said.

The regatta was organized by BMW ORACLE Racing’s Max Sirena. Spithill complimented the event organization and expects it will trigger more match racing events in multihulls.

“This could be a bit of the future of match racing. There was a lot of interest here. It was a fantastic event.”

The winners of the Jaeger-Lecoultre Just the Best Trophy. From left, Dirk de Ridder, John Kostecki, James Spithill and Alan Smith. Cattolica, 22 June 2008

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