The Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas kicks off tomorrow. From Switzerland’s reshuffled crew configuration to mid-fleet pressure, we round up the five things to look out for when racing gets underway at 15:00 on November 12.
The Swiss crew configuration
Switzerland co-driver Sébastien Schneiter will be taking the wheel this weekend, but will be joined by former Japan driver Nathan Outteridge sailing as strategist. This means Outteridge will be steering the Swiss F50 out of manoevures and calling out impending boat on boat situations across the racecourse. Laurane Mettraux meanwhile, who usually races as strategist, will be moving into the second grinder position alongside Arno De Planta, who will race with the team for the first time this weekend.
Can France build on Cádiz triumph?
After winning their first ever event in Cádiz, the French have been flat out preparing and training for Dubai. Currently sitting in third on the overall Championship leaderboard with 41 points, France is facing mid-fleet pressure with Great Britain just one point behind, while Canada and Denmark are level with 36 points apiece. With light winds and smooth water forecast for this weekend, can the French convert their Cádiz momentum into another impressive performance?
The tightest racecourse on the SailGP calendar
Taking place in the commercial harbor of Port Rashid, Dubai has the tightest racecourse on the SailGP calendar. Wall to wall, the course is likely to be just under 2km long, limiting overtaking opportunities and increasing boat-on-boat situations - making crews’ starting strategy even more crucial. Which teams will rise to the challenge and which will be left at the back of the pack?
Season 3’s Championship leaderboard currently has just 10 points separating Denmark in sixth and New Zealand in second, while France has a narrow one-point lead ahead of Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain. This means Dubai could result in a complete reshuffling of the mid-fleet pack, while the window of opportunity is closing for teams at the bottom of the leaderboard to make their mark this season.
Will extra training days pay off for Switzerland, Spain and Canada?
Switzerland, Spain and Canada were all granted three additional training days ahead of racing on Saturday, with Spain and Switzerland sharing the Spanish F50. With training time on the water so limited, this offered these newer teams a real opportunity to get to grips with the F50. But will this be reflected in the teams’ results at the end of the weekend?
Racing takes place in Dubai between 15:00-16:30 GST on Saturday and Sunday. Full broadcast information and How to Watch details HERE.