Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jimmy meets world

Blame it on the wing.

BMW ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill has developed an affinity for death-defying aerobatic stunts. While learning how to sail the wingsail trimaran USA, he also gained his pilot’s license, reasoning that understanding how air flows across a wing would serve him well at the wheel of the 90-foot tri.

In August he flew aboard a stunt helicopter that did a reverse 360, one of only four in the world that can go upside down.

Last week in Dubai, he was at it again. Spithill made the second skydive of his life during the lay day at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai. The jump from an altitude 13,000 feet was followed by a minute of free fall at terminal velocity – about 130 miles per hour – when the ripcord is pulled to pop the chute for a 5-minute ride to terra firma.

Here the skipper shares his thoughts during the jump through the picture captions.

"Here I am with Chris in the plane on our way up, looking forward to the jump."

"I was a little concerned sitting between his legs. Backing into him I said, 'At least we have something in common.'”

"Standing at the door he was telling me it's important to keep my head and feet back so we can do a back flip out of the plane..."

"...which was the best part of the whole experience. To jump out of a plane goes against all natural instincts. It was awesome!"

"Your guts drop initially, then you hit velocity and it feels normal."

"I loved every second of it."

"It was the best way to see Dubai."

"When the chute popped it was quite a big jerk, but a good one."

"We nailed the landing. My only problem with the experience was that I couldn't immediately go again."

And for those with rock-iron guts here's a video of the jump, which James made with yachting commentator Peter "big mouth" Lester of New Zealand.