Jimmy Spithill

  • Speaker

“Colourful” is an oft-used word to describe yachtsman James ‘Jimmy’ Spithill, one of the most outspoken, but also one of the most decorated and high-achieving sailors in the world.

Jimmy has been at the forefront of the America’s Cup landscape since, aged 19, he became the youngest America’s Cup skipper in history, helming Young Australia 2000 in Auckland. He’s skippered in every Cup since, again setting records by becoming the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup in 2010 (at age 30), at the helm of Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA.

Jimmy most likely came sharply to the attention of Kiwis while leading an improbable comeback against Emirates Team New Zealand - as they were only one race win away from bringing home the trophy in San Francisco in 2013. Following Team New Zealand’s reclamation of the Cup in Bermuda in 2017, Jimmy joined Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, the challenger of record for the 36th edition.

Competing in the most races of any of the syndicates, Jimmy and the Luna Rossa team have gone from strength to strength, improving considerably since their first race of the America's Cup World Series in December 2020. Jimmy led the Italian syndicate to winning the Prada Cup final series 7-1 against Ineos Team UK - which has earned them the right to challenge the Kiwi crew in the 2021 America's Cup match.

Jimmy’s history-making career was perhaps inevitable, given his upbringing in the waterfront community of Elvina Bay, Australia, which had no road access - the only way to get to school or the mainland was by boat. When he was nine, his father found an old abandoned wooden two-person dinghy which they restored together. Using this boat, he won the first race he entered at age 10; his future was all but sealed.

Jimmy’s long and varied career on the match-racing circuit has seen him win multiple yachting world championships – enough to fill a book, which he did, in his 2017 biography “Undaunted: A Life in Racing and the Inside Story of My America's Cup.”

A true renaissance man, outside of yachting, Jimmy also an accomplished amateur boxer; competes in CrossFit, kiteboard racing and paddle-boarding, and holds his private pilot’s license. He is one of only a few people in the world to have completed a forward roll in a helicopter (2013).

Jimmy is relishing his time in New Zealand, making the most of the bushwalks, surfing and diving on his weekends. He is available for speaking engagements for the duration of his time here.

Jimmy speaks dynamically and authentically about the challenges he has faced and the lessons he has learned on his path to championship - working harder and smarter than your competitors; positive mindset; resilience; the dangers of complacency, and the power of team work – leaving his audience motivated, inspired and galvanised for success.


“Jimmy spoke with excitement and energy about his experiences and these were brought to life by his use of imagery and video. The presentation made us feel like we were all there with Jimmy and his teammates. He provided a perfect blend of humour and reality and provided the audience with real insight into what the team experienced. We had overwhelming feedback on how inspired the audience felt at the end of his session.”
-Harcourts Group

Jimmy was the most extraordinary speaker we have had in 20 years of running events. His ‘never say die’ attitude, work ethic and incredible stories of perseverance and success are genuinely inspirational. He tailored his presentation to perfectly hit the mark for our sales team, who walked away buzzing. Can’t recommend more highly.
-LINK International Group, NZ Office

You visibly energized and motivated everyone during this three day event, and reached even further beyond! The way you drew parallels between the challenges of the top world sailing competition and our high-tech industry concerning team spirit, mindset, resilience, belief in success and trust in capabilities of each individual were striking! I couldn’t add any word to your speech! Your speech with your clear, simple and authentic messages continues to spread across and keeps on mobilizing and motivating the 22 000 employees of the Industrial Community at Airbus!

Jimmy Spithill was asked to speak about leadership at our annual Harken World Conference. He was the perfect choice: sincere, candid, legitimate and insightful. There are very few people who can be both driven and also consistent teaching leadership by example and creating an environment of excellence. He left us both informed with real insights and inspired.

Please pass on our appreciation to Jimmy for a job extremely well done. He was thoroughly entertaining and did a great job tying his sailing experiences back into the challenges our industry is facing. This was a great way to kick off our partnership and we are looking forward to more good things to come.
-Ironshore Insurance