Jimmy Spithill© Samo Vidic/Red Bull Content Pool
Sailing
Prada Cup: bragging rights are at stake and Jimmy Spithill is down for it
Former America's Cup winner Jimmy Spithill is chasing the trophy once more – but first he must win the 2021 Prada Cup. Read Jimmy's thoughts on the clash between Ineos Team UK and Luna Rossa here.
Written by Sean Calvert
Published on
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James Spithill

AustraliaAustralia
The 2021 Prada Cup Final between Ineos Team UK and Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) determines which of the two teams will progress to the 2021 America’s Cup to take on Emirates Team New Zealand.
Both finalists came through a round-robin series that also involved USA’s American Magic team, who Luna Rossa defeated 4-0 in the semi finals to qualify for the final against Ineos, who went unbeaten in the round-robin stage, thereby qualifying for the final.
The 2021 Prada Cup Final will be a best-of-13 race series, held from February 13-22 and while Ineos Team UK will be favourites based on their 6-0 record in the round-robin stages, Luna Rossa Challenge will be going all-out for victory.
Helmsman, Jimmy Spithill, knows what it takes to win the America’s Cup – and against Emirates Team Zealand – having defended the coveted trophy against them back in 2013 when skipper of BMW Oracle Racing.
Now Spithill – the youngest ever winning skipper of the America’s Cup (for BMW Oracle Racing in 2010) – is back for another tilt at the trophy and he’s desperate to get one over his good friend Ben Ainslie (skipper of Ineos) and the rest of the crew.
There are a lot of my old team-mates on Ineos and bragging rights at stake!
“The finals should be an awesome battle,” Spithill says of the upcoming clash with Ineos. “There are a lot of my old team-mates on Ineos and bragging rights at stake!”
Having been edged out by Ineos in the round-robin stages, Spithill has identified two key areas that Luna Rossa will need to improve upon to turn the tables on their rivals in the Prada Cup Final: “We had a lot of things to work on, especially technical and communication,” he admits.
James Spithill (AUS) trains in Cagliari, Italy on August 15, 2019.
Jimmy Spithill putting in the hard yards in Cagliari, Italy
But he’s hoping that the extra racing time in the semi finals will be to their advantage. “Given how little racing everyone has had, I’m glad we went through the semi finals – this has pushed our development and learning at the same time,” he says.
And Spithill’s approach to the final will be to “make less mistakes than the other team – these boats are very difficult to sail and race well – and teamwork and good decisions are vital.”
One trap that Spithill isn’t going to fall into is looking ahead to a potential rematch in the America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand.
Jimmy Spithill (AUS) poses for a portrait in Cagliari, Italy on August 14, 2019.
Jimmy Spithill at Luna Rossa's home port of Cagliari
“To have a chance of winning the Cup, you need to first win the Prada Cup – that’s our focus right now,” he says. “It’s an exciting time, very few people get to experience a final at this level – it’s something you look forward too.”
And just having the opportunity to race again, let alone in a final of such magnitude, is something that the competitive Australian isn’t taking for granted.
“We’re very lucky and privileged to be able to race and compete,” he says. “There are many athletes unable to do this right now. There are a lot of passionate fans here and abroad cheering us on and we feel all the support!”
Part of this story

James Spithill

AustraliaAustralia