Jimmy Spithill and Tom Slingsby have revealed how both the U.S. and Australian teams suffered flight control issues in the Cádiz Final after the race committee instructed the Final three teams to sail with a four-crew configuration.
Spithill and Slingsby opted to jettison their flight controllers Hans Henken and Jason Waterhouse, resulting in both drivers juggling steering, tactics and flight control.
France driver Quentin Delapierre also decided to lose his flight controller François Morvan, keeping strategist Manon Audinet, wing trimmer Kevin Peponnet and grinder Matthieu Vandame.
“I think it was an interesting strategy - Tom and I were joking that we were so bad without Jason and Hans,” Spithill said, “In those waves it was very difficult to fly the boat and drive at the same time.”
Slingsby admitted that he ‘just didn’t adapt well enough’ to the challenge of multi-tasking flight control and driving.
“All of a sudden, I had to do flight control and I had a shocker,” he said, adding that he felt like a ‘beginner out there.’ “I just couldn’t keep the boat tracking through the waves.”
“If we have Jason Waterhouse on board doing the flight control, I feel very confident,” he said. “But when he gave me the hospital pass and jumped off the boat, I wasn’t feeling too confident to be honest.”
Both the U.S. and Australia experienced flight control issues throughout the Final, with the American F50 flying too high in the second leg of the race and nosediving into the water.
Speaking after his first ever event win, Delapierre revealed it was the first time he had sailed on board the F50 with just four crew.
“It was pretty tough in the choppy conditions and managing the whole rig was very tricky,” he said.
While Spithill admitted the U.S. team was ‘disappointed’ and ‘would have loved to have won the race’, he congratulated the performance of the French.
“You’ve got to take your hates off to the French,” he said, “they were definitely the most consistent boat across the weekend.”
Following Cádiz, Australia extends its lead at the top of the Championship leaderboard to 50 points, followed by New Zealand with 46 and France with 41.