The SailGP Tech Team are working harder than ever in San Francisco right now, as we count down to the start of the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix and the Season 2 Grand Final.
Taking place in the Bay Area on March 26-27, our SailGP champion will be crowned at the end of what promises to be a thrilling weekend full of drama, passion and adrenaline-fueled racing.
None of this action could take place without the help of the Tech Team, however, as they get everything prepared for the start of the event - including the cutting-edge F50s used in racing.
Our Tech Site in San Francisco is currently a bustling hive of activity in preparation for the Grand Final, with repairs and repaints underway to get the F50s up to scratch.
And remarkably, despite the event starting in just one week, one of the F50s is not even painted at all!
We will get onto that, but let’s first visit the Japan SailGP Team tent, where major repair work is being done on Nathan Outteridge’s team’s F50 following their collision with Great Britain in Sydney at our previous event.
In one of SailGP’s most incredible moments ever, the British boat crashed into Japan’s F50 during the start of the third Fleet Race at the Australia Sail Grand Prix, causing so much damage that Japan actually raced using the British boat on the second day of the event.
Japan’s damaged boat was sent back to New Zealand for structural repair work, and it’s now in San Francisco for the finishing touches to be applied ahead of next weekend’s racing.
Visiting the Japan tent, Brad Marsh, the Tech Team Director, said: “It’s really noisy at the moment with the compressors going. The guys are sanding the hull and doing the finishing detail to repair the crash from Sydney, where the Great Britain boat crashed into Japan and completely chopped the bow off.
“The boat was sent back to New Zealand and structurally repaired, and it’s now here in San Francisco for the Grand Final, and we have been putting the bow back on and repainting the entire yacht.
“They are making sure the starboard side looks just like the port side, and we are getting it ready for the Grand Final like it [the crash] never happened.
“The shore crew are working away on getting the final details done, while the tech team work to finish the repair and paint job.”
Japan look likely to claim the final qualification spot for the Season 2 Grand Final, with Australia and the United States already assured of their places in the winner-takes-all race that will decide the SailGP Champion.
And the USA have been preparing for their appearance in the three-team shootout by getting a full repaint of their F50 completed in time for racing.
“The boat has had a new paint job and is looking nice and shiny,” added Marsh upon his visit to the United States SailGP Team tent. “The USA boat was the first F50 ever launched, back in New Zealand in 2018, and it was due for a paint job.
“It’s had a nice gloss finish through all the details on the boat, to get it ready for its Grand Final here in San Francisco and the start of Season 3.
“The shore crew are making sure all the details are done, getting the nets on and getting it ready for sailing.”
Each of our eight F50s are currently on the Tech Site, with varying amounts of work being done on different boats to ensure they are race-ready for the start of the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix next week.
And one of the boats is undergoing some major work, having been entirely stripped, undercoated and primed ahead of a brand new, never-before-seen paint job.
“This F50 is under full repaint,” said Marsh of the mystery boat, “with the undercoat and primer on the two hulls and the pod. We can see the stencils on the pod as it’s not far from getting painted now.
“The stencils are starting to indicate what the livery may be, but we don’t have any indication as to what colour this team will be.”
We can’t say whose boat this is just yet, but keep your eyes peeled on SailGP.com over the next week for the exclusive reveal of this stunning new F50.