Jimmy Spithill’s world turned upside down
United States and Japan grabbed some of the spotlight for all the wrong reasons during the second and final of racing at the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess in the Great Sound yesterday.
The two SailGP rivals’ day came to an early end after they collided on the first windward beat of the opening race with a spot in the winners-take-all podium race on the line.
Both boats sustained considerable damage, with the Americans’ woes further compounded after capsizing shortly after the unfortunate mishap.
“It was a big crash between us and the Americans on the first beat of the first race,” Nathan Outteridge, the Japan helmsman, said. “It was really hard to see what’s happening to leeward on these boats.
“You try to see them through the window on your jib or the window on your wing, but basically if you can see them, they’re not going to hit you.
“We were seeing them for a while and we couldn’t tell if they were on port or starboard and then it appeared as though they tacked.
“We had a quick look through the wing and it looked like we were probably going to cross and then it became apparent that we weren’t. And so we set up to try and tack to avoid them because it looked like it was too hard to get behind them.
“Instead of turning it really quickly and potentially capsizing our boat, I just turned at a slow steady pace to try and get the guys a chance to cross the boat, and clearly that wasn’t quick enough. The end result was a big crash and a lot of damage between the two boats.”
Offering his take on the incident, Spithill said: “We were basically tacking o nto starboard and it was a good distance to the Japanese boat. On the dock, Nathan said he just lost sight of us and basically just crashed right into us.
“We don’t know if he was changing his mind or had hesitation as to whether he was going behind us or tacking. But it was really, really disappointing.
“Nathan came and apologised as soon as we hit the dock. He and I are good mates off the water and he’s a sportsman.
“But still it’s tough because you don’t like to be taken out of the race when you can’t do anything about it.”