The flat water and medium winds of Dubai may prove ‘absolutely perfect sailing conditions for foiling’ but the event’s tight racecourse is set to challenge crews with increasing boat-on-boat situations, according to SailGP’s podcast.
Carr said the typical November conditions of Dubai were likely to be ’30 degrees’ with a thermal breeze of ‘between 20-30 km/h’ and ‘perfectly flat water’. “It’s going to be pretty great for racing foiling catamarans in an urban environment,” he said.
Darmanin agreed, arguing that crews would welcome the conditions after the high winds of Saint-Tropez and ocean swell of Cádiz. “After a couple of rough events, I’m sure the athletes cannot wait for some flat water and medium sailing conditions.”
However, crews are likely to be challenged by Dubai’s tight city-side racecourse which, ‘wall to wall’, is likely to be ‘under 2km long’, Carr said.
“We’re going to have a very short distance from top to bottom and if they’re doing that in 25 km/h that translates into a lot of laps,” he said. The flat waters of Dubai are likely to make racing ‘slightly easier’ for the flight controllers on board, but the short course will make it ‘super hard work’ for both the wing trimmers and grinders, according to Carr.
The tight racecourse is also likely to result in more ‘boat-on-boat situations’, Darmanin said, increasing the importance of the strategists who 'need to have their heads on a swivel looking around and communicating to the driver’.
Another idiosyncrasy of the Dubai racing venue is the ‘significant sea wall’, Carr said, which may ‘split’ the breeze. “It means the racecourse will effectively be windier at the bottom of the course than at the top.”
The ‘real test’, he said, will be ‘transitioning out of a reasonable sailing breeze’ into ‘a much lighter breeze at the top gate’, he said, likening the course to the Season 2’s ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus.
With just five events left, Dubai marks the beginning of the ‘second half’ of Season 3, Carr said, arguing that in sport ‘some of the most important minutes of the game are how you start the second half’.
For this reason, Dubai is likely to be the most important event of the season so far. “Teams will be setting out their stall for how they’re going to finish this season and there’ll be some big statements out there.”
The Deep Dive podcast is available on all major podcast platforms and features new episodes ahead of every event of SailGP Season 3.