Australian-born Jimmy Spithill appears destined to sign on with Luna Rossa as the Italian syndicate makes moves for the next America's Cup regatta.
Luna Rossa went down to Team New Zealand 7-3 in the Cup match in Auckland last week, and are looking to retain the majority of their crew for their next challenge.
The ability for Luna Rossa to keep sailors around may be tricky due to new citizenship rules, which state crew members must either hold a passport of the country of the team's yacht club as at 19 March this year, or been physically present in that country (or in Auckland with the team for the Cup) for two of the previous three years prior to 18 March 2021.
However Spithill fits the mould having been in Italy and linked with Luna Rossa for the majority of the last three years. Per rules, he could also join forces with an Australia outfit should one enter, or skipper a team from an "emerging nation" under an exemption.
However, a return to Luna Rossa seems most likely as skipper and team director Max Sirena told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Spithill and fellow co-helmsman Francesco Burni are top of his re-singing list.
"My goal is to confirm Jimmy and Checco, which is great," he said.
Sirena confirmed they've locked down 90 per cent of their current team for the next America's Cup campaign, with eyes locked on a regatta in either 2023 or 2024.
Spithill and Bruni anchored Sirena's ground-breaking dual helmsman approach, that helped the Italian outfit march through the Prada Cup challenger series and into the final matchup against Team New Zealand.
It was Spithill's fourth Cup match, having appeared in the big dance three times with Oracle Team USA prior to the 2021 event.
The two-time America's Cup winner and dual world champion has represented a handful of countries in the America's Cup, including his home nation, along with USA and most recently Italy.
Luna Rossa aren't expected to be included in the one-off Deed of Gift regatta rumoured for next year, which will likely be contested between Team NZ and Ineos Team UK. Sirena has been critical of the approach taken by the defender and Challenger of Record.
"A dual event would be a disaster for the whole America's Cup world, as well as a farce," he said.
"We have reached a very high level, now we have to build an even stronger team. I cannot and do not want to give up right now."