Singapore’s light air conditions pose the biggest challenge to crews this weekend, SailGP's drivers have said, with many teams practicing four-crew configurations ahead of racing.
Speaking at the pre-event press conference, Kiwi driver Peter Burling said ‘everyone is preparing for the light air’ in training, practising with a four-person crew, the largest 29m wing and light air boards.
The weekend promises plenty of ‘exciting racing’, he said, with teams challenged to show their racing pedigree ‘across the spectrum’ of conditions.
Driver of two-time defending champions Australia, Tom Slingsby, added that Singapore was shaping up to be both a ‘tough’ and ‘crucial’ event, adding that performing in light airs has been a ‘historical weakness’ for the team.
“We can do well, but we’re also a bit erratic,” he said.
Following Singapore, SailGP will be heading to the heavier air venues of Sydney and Christchurch which, Slingsby said, is where the Aussies ‘feel comfortable’.
“If we get through this one in good shape, we can start looking at the Final,” he added.
United States driver Jimmy Spithill agreed, adding that the light airs will level the playing field - 'I’m not sure there can be a favorite in these conditions.'
However, he said the American team will ‘take some confidence’, after ‘showing we can compete at this level in these conditions’ - the team won in Saint-Tropez, excelling in both heavy and light airs across the weekend.
“You see some teams like the Aussies having an advantage when the conditions get a little windy - in the lighter air, it seems like that’s gone and everyone is on the same level”.
Tactically, this means teams will be focused on making a good start, Denmark driver Nicolai Sehested said, with the light airs limiting overtaking opportunities once racing is underway.
“It will be a lot about traffic and not so much about the maneuvers - everyone will be focused on getting off the start line to get some clear air,” he said.
Racing takes place in Singapore between 14:00-15:30 SGT on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets to the Singapore Sail Grand Prix are available HERE. Full broadcast information and How To Watch details are HERE.