Last August, Oracle helmsman Jimmy Spithill had surgery on a tendon he tore in his left elbow during the Portsmouth America’s Cup World Series. Trying to be ready for the September World Series in Toulon, he got the wound wet and picked up a severe infection. Facing a possible amputation, he underwent a series of surgeries and 10 weeks on an intravenous antibiotics drip treatment.
“I had a race, Portsmouth in the Louis Vuitton World Series, on the Saturday I tore [the tendon] off the bone but then raced Sunday,” Spithill said.
“The surgery was a success but I rushed back and got it wet and picked up a real bad infection and then it was multiple surgeries, pretty much living with the surgeon.
“IV for 10 weeks, antibiotics morning and night so it was a battle.
“I’m glad we finally won and we beat it. If it wasn’t for the surgeon, a guy by the name of Rob Bray, who knows. He saved me, I almost lost my arm.
“Typical, hard lesson to learn but you’ve got to balance it out. You can’t just go full throttle all the time.”