Americas Cup: Jimmy Spithill defiant in face of 5-3 deficit Its not over yet

As the music rang out around Aucklands Viaduct on Monday evening, for Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill there were no metaphorical fat ladies sharapg.
In other words, for the master escapologist, for the Houdini of the sailing world, a 5-3 deficit in a first-to-7 Americas Cup match is by no means over.

Spithill, of course, once piloted Oracle back from an 8-1 deficit (in San Francisco in 2013) to break Kiwi hearts with one of the great comebacks in all of international sport as the Americans completed a storybook 9-8 triumph.

Luna Rossa had their chances against Team New Zealand, but blew leads in both races on Monday.

In comparison, a 5-3 hole is a doddle, and that was his tone as he contemplated a day of missed opportunities for the Italians (a theme he emphatically denied) after they led both races through the first two gates, but lost both in dramatic circumstances.

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Theres no doubt in my mind, absolutely no doubt, said Spithill when asked by Americas Cup guru Bruno Trouble if Luna Rossa could respond to the break of serve from the Kiwis on Monday after one of the most dramatic days sailing in the events history.

I thought the team did a great job. We were able to get off the line well in both starts, get the lead," said Spithill. The Kiwis sailed a great race in the first one and full credit to them in the second race for just hanging tough, getting going again. We have to tip our hats to then for sailing two good races.

But for us its not over. Were not at the trophy presentation yet. We already had a session before we got here looking at what we could have done better. There are a number of things, because tomorrow looks similar, tomorrow looks light. We have to learn, get stronger and come out swharapg tomorrow.

Stuff's Todd Niall and Duncan Johnstone analyse a day of America's Cup racing that will go down in history as Team NZ gets the break.

There was a lot to unpack after two differing collapses mid-race. First up the Italians got mowed down by the Kiwis in a brilliant pass on the third leg the first of the series. In the second they came down off their foils in light air at the top mark, and could not get going again until it was too late as they coughed up a huge lead.

If being hunted down twice by Burling and his crew had put a dent in his confidence, Spithill disguised it well. He credited Team NZ with going pretty quick in the first race, and shrugged the second off as one of those days in dynamic conditions on a dynamic course.

Asked if Team NZs superior boatspeed concerned him at all, the awesome Aussie of yachting engaged defiant mode:

I think we can win races against them. Weve won three, and came into today all square. I think we can win races, and we believe we can get out there and do that tomorrow and that exactly will be our plan.

Undoubtedly this was a day of lost chances for Luna Rossa. No one had dropped a race from in front the entire series. They lost two in a row after leading through the first two marks.

Luna Rossa's Jimmy Spithill: 'Were not at the trophy presentation yet. We'll come out swharapg tomorrow.'

I dont view today as lost opportunities ... the way I view it is youre either winning or youre learning, responded the feisty Aussie. So I think we learnt a lot today and that is going to help us get stronger as a team and going to give us a better chance to win races.

I can tell you now there is no one at our base curled up in the corner crying it out. No one is going to throw the towel in. Its been a tough road to get to this cup, we know the team can bounce back and respond and were going to come out swharapg tomorrow.

And, just for good measure, Spithill even lent a bit of perspective to the situation he and his team face as they head towards another day of light-air racing, if at all, on Tuesday.

This is an unbelievable series. Were in an unbelievable situation in the world were living in right now. Were very fortunate to be out there doing that. I wake up every day and think how lucky I am to work with a bunch of best mates and go out there to race the best in the world in New Zealand.

Look at the crowds, the people down there, all the kids, the supporters. Man, its a good day to go out and race.


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