Oracle Team USA’s quest for an America’s Cup three-peat in Bermuda next weekend will begin with Australian Jimmy Spithill at the helm.
Then there’s the Australian who claimed Olympic gold in London and backed it up four years later with a silver medal in Rio. Yet for the duration of the America’s Cup regatta in May and June, Lake Macquarie local Nathan Outteridge will be steering the hopes of the Swedish entry, Artemis Racing.
Meanwhile Team New Zealand has another Australian, Victorian skipper Glenn Ashby. A world champion sailor, Ashby might hail from Bendigo, but is tilting towards trans-Tasman sailing in search of glory.
With Australia failing to mount an America’s Cup challenger for the last three decades and an entrant for the last 17 years a generation of the nation’s finest sailors have long had no alternative other than to be flexible.
“There is no Australian challenger, however there are a lot of Australians in the teams. Ironically out of the six teams – there are three Australian skippers and even more personnel manning the boats on and off the water,” says the Sydney born Spithill, a world champion sailor for Australia and, for Team USA, a two-time America’s Cup conqueror and the youngest ever America’s Cup winning skipper.
The oldest sporting trophy in the world, the Auld Mug, is also perhaps the most tightly held. Since the first edition in 1851 only four nations can lay claim to having captured the silverware: the US, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand.
Australia famously shattered the stranglehold of the USA but since then support…