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Spithill Named Sailor of the Year

Jimmy Spithill leads Oracle Team USA to victory in the 34th America’s Cup.

© Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill was presented with the 2014 ISAF male Rolex World Sailor of the Year award at a ceremony in Palma, Spain, yesterday evening.

The award came in recognition of the famous comeback over which Spithill presided as the skipper of Golden Gate YC’s Oracle Team USA during the 2013 America’s Cup. Down 8-1, then facing match point for more than a week, Spithill and his team won eight consecutive races to retain the Cup 9-8 over Emirates Team New Zealand.

"I feel a little awkward winning this award. It seems it is an individual award, and in my case it could not be further from the truth. What happened on San Francisco Bay was an incredible team effort. I was just a small piece,” Spithill said. "I’m accepting this award on behalf of the full team."

This is the first World Sailor of the Year award for the 35-year old Australian, who joins teammates Tom Slingsby (2010) and Russell Coutts (1995, 2003) in the exalted club.

Brazilian 49erFX sailors Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, both 23, won the female Rolex World Sailor of the Year award. Martine is the daughter of Torben Grael, himself a recipient of the award in 2009. For more, see

In other America’s Cup-related news, it was announced this morning that Bermuda will host an America’s Cup World Series event in October, 2015, to be raced in foiling AC45s. See

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