United States driver Jimmy Spithill has debriefed the team’s surprise victory over Australia and ROCKWOOL DEN in Cadiz, saying the team came in ‘with something to prove’.
The Americans sneaked into the win by narrowly beating New Zealand on points in the fifth fleet race and earned a pre-start penalty in the Final, which meant they crossed the line behind the Danish and Aussies.
It was the Danish who were first at Mark 1, but on the first downwind they were caught off guard by the dying breeze at the lay line and fell off the foils. Spithill however jibed away early and found crucial pressure away from the shoreline. This allowed the United States to stay on the foils and seize the lead, which they extended to over 300m.
Looking back on the race, Spithill said the pre-start penalty was ‘100%’ his fault for ‘not seeing the boundary’ but said it ‘just [didn’t] phase the team’.
“It’s something that we’ve built up in this team - it doesn’t matter where we are, we just fight the whole way to the end.”
After stealing first place from the Danes, the Americans went on to ‘build a really great lead,’ Spithill said. “It ended up being a really straightforward race.”
Spithill went on to dedicate the win to the team’s flight controller Hans Henken, who was injured during an incident in Taranto. While this was ‘such a massive blow for the team’, the incident gave the team ‘a real amount of purpose’, Spithill said.
“It was a tough moment for the team to go through, but it also really inspired us,” he said.
Spithill also paid credit to Taylor Canfield, who subbed in to cover Henken in Cadiz.
“He jumped in the deep end, had such a great attitude, open-minded and just hungry for knowledge so I’m very impressed with Taylor,” he said.
The U.S.'s victory means the team shoots up the leaderboard and now sits in third overall behind ROCKWOOL DEN and Australia.