Oracle Team USA Skipper: The America’s Cup Is Now A Professional Sport

If you’re like Gregg Giannotti and Brian Jones, you probably don’t know a whole lot about the America’s Cup – or yacht racing in general. So, Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill dropped by CBS Sports Radio to provide some background and content for the sport.

“The America’s Cup now is a professional sport,” Spithill, an Australian, explained on Gio and Jones. “It’s real athletes – the best of the best. I guess it’s a lot like, say, the Yankees. A lot of the Yankees, No. 1, aren’t from New York, and No. 2, aren’t from America. They’ve really focused dong getting the best talent and the best athletes because they want to go out and win. Our competition is no different. We’ve got the best athletes in the world, the fastest boats in the world, and it’s a real game-changer for us where the event used to be.”

Not that Spithill called the racers athletes, not sailors. That’s because each athlete who participates in the America’s Cup burns roughly 7,000 to 8,000 calories a day.

“It’s brutal,” Spithill said. “There’s real risk now. It’s a little bit of NASCAR on water, so the guys do a lot of physical training in the gym. Kind of like CrossFit-style workouts, but more related to (the sport). It’s not CrossFit, but it’s that type of workout where it’s specific to what you’re doing. So around 20 minutes, which is the race length. The big thing is making decisions. The hard thing in our game is you get to exhaustion real quick, and then you got to make key decisions. You make a mistake, there’s going to be serious consequences.”

This year’s America’s Cup will be held in New York for the first time in 96 years. Giannotti wondered if any race participants will be afraid of catching diseases should they fall in the Hudson River.

“It’s actually quite motivating not to tip the boat over,” Spithill joked. “They’re very, very fast. The cool thing is, it’s right there. It’s right in front of the World Trade Center and between the Statue of Liberty. It’ll be impossible to miss if you walk past. It really is stadium sailing now. It’s not about going way off shore. it’s about getting it in front of the fans as if you’re sitting watching a football game or a baseball game. So yeah, I think people are going come down and really like what they see.”

The event will be held May 7-8.

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