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Spithill boxing clever

A step ahead: Spithill and Oracle Team USA are doing everything they can to get a competitive advantage

Boxing is something you normally would not associate with sailing.

But try telling that to Oracle Team USA, defender of the America’s Cup, who rely on a heavy diet of boxing to keep their sailors mentally tough.

“The beauty of boxing is you have to make decisions when you are exhausted and when you get it wrong in boxing it’s obvious what’s going to happen,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “It’s the same thing with these boats [AC45 and AC62 catamaran]; you get it wrong there’s consequences.

“That’s why we incorporate boxing in our training because you got to think exhausted and be constantly on your feet. It’s a high cardio rate and that’s why we do it as part of the training to mix it up. It creates great hand and eye coordination and skills.

“We want to get a step ahead of these other teams and are looking for any edge we can get.”

Oracle defended the “Auld Mug” in home waters in San Francisco at the 34th America’s Cup, the next time the team from the Golden Gate Yacht Club lay their title on the line it will be in Bermuda in 2017. Oracle is the first American syndicate to defend the Cup outside of the United States and first of any syndicate to defend in neutral waters by choice.

Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, Luna Rossa Challenge, Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France are the five challengers vying for Oracle’s title.

“This is the toughest group of challengers we have ever seen in the history of the event,” Spithill said. “We brought it [America’s Cup] here, and we want to win it.”

Oracle are presently testing their AC45 catamaran, which have modified since the previous America’s Cup World Series to foil like their larger cousin the AC62 and AC72, at their headquarters on the US West Coast.

The AC45 will be used for the next America’s Cup World Series while the 35th America’s Cup will be contested for in the AC62.

“The 45s are really a scaled down model, and it was a natural step to get them foiling,” Spithill said. “The teams are allowed to have the smaller testing boats [AC45] to prototype ideas for the big boats [AC62] we will launch sometime around the end of 2016.”

The AC45s will see action in the Great Sound when Bermuda hosts the America’s Cup World Series from October 16 to 18.

After tests on their AC45 have been completed, Spithill, the 2014 ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year, will undergo elbow surgery for an injury he suffered in the lead up to the previous America’s Cup.

Oracle, owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, the fifth wealthiest man in the world, intend to move into their Bermuda headquarters at the Royal Naval Dockyard by early May.

n Cameron Pimentel had a rough first day at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami.

The Bermuda sailor is competing in the Laser class at the event and is 89 after the first two races.

Pimentel placed 42 and 43 yesterday, finishing with 85 points for the day. Bruno Fontes, of Brazil, is the early leader on four points.