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Spithill fields deepest roster yet ahead of SailGP Season 3 Opener

by Laura Muma 12 May 20:15 BST 14-15 May 2022

Jimmy Spithill is doubling down after the United States SailGP Team narrowly missed out on the Season 2 championship crown this past March, and is bringing new ammunition for the Season 3 opener, the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess.

"When Rome [Kirby] injured his shoulder during a nosedive in training before the Grand Final in San Francisco, it was a major wake up call for me," Spithill said. "I was thinking, 'Oh wow, if Rome's out of action, then we are in big trouble.' We didn't have the roster depth to swap someone out who has experience in the flight controller position."

Enter two new additions to the team's Bermuda roster: US Sailing Team members Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.) as flight controller, and Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.), trialing as a grinder. Both enter with big resumes from the US Sailing Team with Henken having competed in SailGP back in 2019 and Muller recently racing the Finn Class in Tokyo.

"With the extra training days here in Bermuda, it's crucial we invest the time to train and add talent to our roster," Spithill said. "We need to approach this like any other professional sports team that operates in a high-impact sport. Both athletes have fit into the team very well, you can see why they have been successful in outside racing; they have great team attitudes and work ethics, and it's impressive how quickly they have picked it up."

"It's been a lot of fun stepping back into the F50," said Henken, who also holds aeronautical and astronautical engineering degrees from Stanford University. "It's the first time I've flown the boat so every day has been a big jump forward, and wow, it's a steep learning curve. The team has been awesome in helping me adjust to this new role, and very patient with my mistakes. I really appreciate the space to learn and having their support has been incredible."

"These boats are incredible," Muller said. "They are well designed performance machines and the crew has to all be in sync to make it happen. I've really enjoyed the challenge of my role and working with the team."

Henken and Muller join the established U.S. SailGP Team in Bermuda this weekend, which includes Spithill, Paul Campbell-James, Andrew Campbell, Cooper Dressler, Alex Sinclair and CJ Perez.

Racing takes place Saturday and Sunday in Bermuda's Great Sound. Fans can watch live via SailGP YouTube or the APP at 1 p.m. EDT / 10 a.m. PDT; or on CBS Sports tape delayed at 4:30 p.m. EDT both days.

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