U.S. SailGP Team punches ticket to Season 2 Grand Final
SYDNEY, Dec. 18, 2021 – A second-place finish today at the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG qualified the United States and event winner Australia, for the winner-take-all $1 million Season 2 Grand Final at the United States Sail Grand Prix San Francisco, March 26-27.
Per SailGP rules, only the top three overall teams at the end of the season will qualify for entry to the high-stakes, final race of the season.
Securing the team’s Grand Final berth sets up a dream comeback scenario for U.S. SailGP Team’s CEO and Driver Jimmy Spithill, who now looks to win sailing’s largest prize in front of the hometown, San Francisco crowd.
“We started the season in last place after being taken out by the Japanese team.” Spithill said. “It was about the worst possible way for a new team to enter a competition. But we’ve fought our way through broken bones, hitting things, and capsizes.”
Spithill is no stranger to dramatic comebacks, especially in San Francisco, where he climbed back from a 8-1 deficit to win the 2013 America’s Cup, called one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
Today’s racing in Sydney Harbor in higher-end wind conditions tested all the teams, and Spithill is pleased with how the Americans handled it. “Our goals were to not try and be heroes, to not push it to the edge,” he said. “We wanted to get respectable scores to qualify for the podium. It was a good test to see that we can remain in front under pressure.”
Australia won its home event this weekend, led by multiple Olympic gold medalist and Spithill’s former America’s Cup teammate, Tom Slingsby.
“Right now, the championship is Tommy’s to lose,” Spithill said. “It’s great for us to be an underdog coming into San Francisco…trust me. That’s the great thing about sport; the favorites don’t always win.”
The championship now races to San Francisco, with the event’s additional five qualifying races deciding which team will complete the trifecta to sail against the U.S. and Australia for the Season 2 title.
For a limited time, early bird tickets for the United States Sail Grand Prix in San Francisco, March 26 - 27, 2022, are 15 percent off. Click here to purchase.