The Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth is shaping up to be the biggest SailGP event yet. From the return of a SailGP legend to mourning pressure on the U.S. team, we round up the biggest things to look out for before racing gets underway on July 30.
Since beginning her competitive career at the age of 11, Jo Aleh has picked up a long line of accolades. Former national champion, world champion and Olympic gold medallist, Aleh has now been drafted onto the New Zealand SailGP Team as a strategist. With her experience and skill, Aleh’s appointment has the potential to boost Peter Burling’s New Zealand team onto greater things. The team has so far failed to snare a single podium finish - could Aleh help put them on the podium for the first time?
The hearts of many SailGP fans faltered when the news broke that Japan would not be continuing in the league. The loss of gold and silver Olympic medallist Nathan Outteridge, affectionately nicknamed ‘the wind whisperer’, was keenly felt. But now Outteridge is back. In Plymouth, he will support the newcomer Swiss team in the role of sailing advisor. With a glittering career studded with 19 World Championship wins and experience as part of the original F50 test team, Outteridge’s involvement is sure to boost Switzerland’s performance.
After a painful performance on home waters in Chicago last month, there was speculation USA Driver Jimmy Spithill would be making some big changes to his line up. But coming into Plymouth, it’s clear that’s not the case. With former flight controller Rome Kirby still absent, Spithill looks determined to build depth into the team and train up inexperienced flight controller Hans Henken. Will the team be able to move on from Chicago and begin to climb back up the leaderboard?
This is the first event since Canada entered the league without strategist Georgia Lewin LaFrance on board. Instead, Isabella Bertold will be stepping into the role after two weeks of training on the F50 simulator. Many have said that Lewin LaFrance, nicknamed ‘Speedy G’ by Driver Phil Robertson, has been crucial to the team’s success. Can Canada maintain that form in Plymouth without her on board?
It’s a big event for Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain. The team is sailing on home waters and significant ticket sales mean Plymouth is shaping up to be the biggest SailGP event so far. That means the shore will be heaving with crowds keen to see their home favourites perform. Not only that, but the team is expecting a very special visit from Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. She will experience the power and speed of the F50 firsthand during a friendly Commonwealth Race between Great Britain and New Zealand on Sunday. And she’ll also be watching from the sidelines when racing gets underway. No pressure then.