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Promising start for Great Britain SailGP Team in opening day of United States Sail Grand Prix

27 MARCH 2022News
  • Great Britain

The Great Britain SailGP Team launched their newly branded F50 boat, with a striking new livery focussed on the new ‘Protect our Future’ climate education programme. Gracing San Francisco Bay in style, they won the opening race of the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix in San Francisco.

In the moderate but patchy conditions of 20-25KM/H, Ainslie and the British crew were not able to capitalise on the momentum of the opening race, finishing the second and third races of the event in sixth and fourth place respectively.

The results see the Great Britain SailGP Team end the opening day of the United States Sail Grand Prix in third place and in contention to challenge for the Grand Prix title tomorrow. Sunday’s forecast is for significant gusts as clouds move across the course, with average winds of 30KM/H, gusting up to 50KM/H.

Reflecting on the opening day and looking ahead to tomorrow’s action Driver, Ben Ainslie said: “To be successful in SailGP you have to get off the start line in a good position and today we had three bad ones. We managed to pull it back in the first by picking the right side of the course and climbing through the fleet to win the race.

The second race was one to forget, we had a terrible start followed by putting the boat in the wrong places on the course. In the third we made it hard for ourselves and we were lucky to come out with a fourth. However, it’s tight on the leader board and we are still in the hunt. We will take the positives, review the data, and come out refocused.”

Race 1 - GBR WIN

After a less than perfect start, the British team found themselves in seventh place rounding the first mark. After a decision to split the course on the second gate, however, Ainslie and his crew were able to find a stronger breeze and subsequently followed the message emblazoned on the front of their boat to 'send it' up the ladder through the fleet.

On the third leg, after the Australian and Kiwi boats both fell off of their foils in an aggressive tacking duel, the British team were able to take a commanding lead through gate 3. From then on it was a faultless performance, with 100% flight time, the highest average speed, and the shortest distance sailed, meaning the Great Britain SailGP Team were able to win the first race of the United States Sail Grand Prix, followed by Slingsby's Australia SailGP Team in second place.

Race 2 - DEN WIN, GBR 6TH

It was another poor start for the British crew in the second race of the day, once again crossing the start line in seventh place.

This time, however, Ainslie and his crew were unable to pull off another comeback and remained at the back of the fleet for the majority of the race, before climbing a couple of places on the final leg to finish in sixth place.

The race was notable for a battle for the lead between the young Spanish and Danish crews. After the Spanish F50 fell off of its foils through a gybe on the fourth leg, however, it was Nicolai Sehested's Denmark SailGP Team that took the race win.

Race 3 – JPN WIN, GBR 4TH

The British team appeared to be in control at the bottom of the line in the pre-start, but were quickly squeezed at the line by Pete Burling’s and Jordi Xammar’s New Zealand and Spain SailGP Teams.

That meant the British once again found themselves near the back of the fleet on the opening leg. A risky ‘tack bearaway’ manoeuvre through the third gate, however, paid off for the team as they were able to climb the leaderboard into fourth place, battling for third with Jordi Xammar’s Spanish crew.

The Great Britain SailGP Team finished the final race of the opening day in fourth place, with Nathan Outteridge’s Japan SailGP Team taking their first win of the event, after leading at the first mark on all three occasions today. The result saw the British finish the opening day in third on the overall event leaderboard.

The Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix resumes tomorrow for the final day of SailGP Season 2 with all the action live on Sky Sports and YouTube in the UK from 10PM BST. To find out more on how to watch visit: https://sailgp.com/watch/