New York – Skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn (USA) joined America´s Cup champion Oracle Team USA on board their foiling AC45 catamaran on Thursday afternoon in New York during the final training session for the 2nd stop of the Louis Vuitton America´s Cup World Series 2016. Invited by Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill (AUS), the legendary skier took over the grinder position as the boat was flying on the Hudson River in front of the Statue of Liberty.
Vonn went on board an AC45 flying catamaran, which sails at up to 41 knots, which is 70 km/h / 45 mph – faster than the speed limit on Manhattan streets. “I was nervous because I did not want to mess up,” said Vonn. “But then as I got comfortable, I started asking to do more things to challenge myself. I got to do some grinding and I put the foils down. You can tell visually that you are rising out of the water on the foils. An incredible experience.”
This was a preview to America´s Cup racing coming to New York Harbor for the first time in almost a century. The multi-day sailing event begins Saturday, featuring the world´s best sailors, racing the fastest boats, in front of the city that never sleeps.
Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill was impressed with Vonn´s performance. “She really had a fire to be a part of the team and wanted us to push her. She has a lot of power, and as a skipper, I felt comfortable giving her control of positions on the boat.”
Vonn, who won her 8th world cup downhill title earlier this year, is now in training for next season and enjoyed this new experience with heroes in another sport.
“Needing to be aware of what´s around you is a big similarity between sailing and skiing“, said Vonn. “In both sports, we are analyzing wind, speed and race boundaries. People may not realize how many real-time adjustments these guys are making.“
Six teams, each sailing on behalf of a home country, will compete this weekend in the New York, vying for points that count towards the final competition for the 35th America´s Cup in Bermuda in 2017. Bermuda will also be the home of the Red Bull Youth America´s Cup, showcasing the young guns of sailing.