VOR: One hears that Rome Kirby (USA) has just signed with AkzoNobel
SAN FRANCISCO (2100 PDT) – We have not spoken with Rome Kirby (USA) himself, as he is likely asleep if not already enroute to Europe on a red-eye [update: he's actually flying out on Thursday] nor have we had a reply to our inquiries of Team AkzoNobel (who are also likely still asleep where it is just 0600 CET), but your Ed. hears tonight from longtime friends in Newport, RI, normally reliable sources all, that Rome signed today with AkzoNobel and their newly-appointed skipper, Brad Jackson (NZL). This would fill the gap created by Brad's promotion to skipper after Simeon Tienpont (NED) was released by the sponsor from his role as CEO/Skipper last Friday.
From Rhode Island, Kirby's father, Jerry Kirby, has sailed in three Volvo Ocean Races and six America's Cups. Your Ed. believes they are the first father and son to win the America’s Cup.
Rome, called "Boy Wonder" by some in the sport, was an alternate for Puma Racing during the 2008–09 Volvo Ocean Race. He then sailed with Puma Racing during the 2011–12 VOR and was the youngest sailor in the six-boat fleet.
Kirby then joined Oracle Team USA and sailed on USA 17 as a trimmer when they successfully defended the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco. He was the youngest sailor on the boat.
He remained with OTUSA and sailed in the 2011–13 America's Cup World Series as a tactician but did not sail in the 2017 America's Cup itself, acting as a reserve.
Rome Kirby (USA, Newport, RI) raced with the Puma team in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race skippered by fellow Newporter Ken Read, and was with Oracle Team USA for the past two America's Cups. Your Ed. hears he has signed with AkzoNobel for the 2017-18 VOR which starts on Sunday in Alicante, Spain.