Spithill to miss Toulon event
Jimmy Spithill has ruled himself out of this weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Toulon.
The Oracle Team USA skipper wants to avoid aggravating his left elbow, which required surgery to repair a damaged tendon after the previous world series regatta in Portsmouth.
“The rehab is coming along well and I may actually be fit enough to race,” Spithill said.
“But there’s a slight chance that I could reinjure it by coming back too early, and that’s a risk we don’t need to take. I wanted to be one hundred per cent right before I load it up in racing environment.”
Spithill’s injury is similar to tennis elbow and has plagued the King Edward VII Gold Cup winner for the past six months.
“We tried to deal with it with physiotherapy and cortisone shots,” he added. “But with no real improvement, surgery seemed the best option.”
Ironically, taking over duties with the tiller is Tom Slingsby, who had surgery to replace a damaged disc in his back at the DISC Sports & Spine Centre in Marina del Rey, California, the same clinic where fellow Australian Spithill had surgery in July.
Slingsby, the Oracle sailing team manager and tactician/helmsman, who won a gold medal in the lasers at the 2012 London Olympics, is ready for the challenge as the holders of the “Auld Mug” continue their quest for a maiden World Series victory.
“In any position on board, you want to have a good back-up who can step in,” Slingsby said. “This was always something we had to be prepared for. Jimmy is very talented and experienced. I know it won’t be easy and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Slingsby will compete on Oracle’s foiling AC45F catamaran in Toulon along with Kyle Langford, the wing trimmer, Sam Newton, trimmer, Joey Newton, trimmer/grinder, and Louis Sinclair, the bowman/grinder.
Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, led by former Oracle tactician, Sir Ben Ainslie, are the World Series leaders.