Currently in second place, U.S. SailGP Team’s Jimmy Spithill has no illusions: the real battle begins tomorrow at the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas. “Tomorrow is a reset; our goal is to make the podium,” said the team CEO and driver.
On a light-air day that saw the F50s struggling to find enough breeze to foil the team scored a seventh, fourth and second-place; securing second-place overall behind Great Britain, and tied on points with New Zealand.
“We struggled in the first couple of starts – that was all me – but we managed to get it going in the last one,” said Spithill. He attributes the third-race success to the strong start, plus they finally cracked the code on how to break free of the pack.
“It’s nearly impossible to find space on such a small race track,” Spithill said. [Today’s race course length (.4 nautical miles) was shorter than the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (828 meters = .44 nautical miles)].
With such a confined space to fit nine F50s, “It’s like the boats are stuck to each other with a piece of shock cord; we’re all just trying to get into clear air or find a clear lane,” said Spithill.
With Sunday’s wind forecast much improved (10 - 20 knots), SailGP plans to swap configurations on the F50’s from the light-air 29-meter to the all-purpose 24-meter wing sail. “It will be a completely different game,” Spithill said. “With more wind, the mid-size wing, and a tight race track, tomorrow is going to be pretty full on.”
Only two points separate second to seventh place in the event standings. “Our goal is to string together a few clean races tomorrow; making the podium is really the goal for us.” said Spithill.
HOW TO WATCH:
U.S. fans have a Super Sunday of SailGP in store:
- LIVE @ 6 a.m. EST: U.S. fans can watch all the Dubai Sail Grand Prix action live on SailGP’s Youtube channel
- REPLAY ON CBS SPORTS: Dubai’s Saturday action will air Sunday at 7:30 p.m. EST, followed by Sunday’s racing at 9 p.m. EST
- CBS EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE @ 5 p.m. EST: Witness all the action the Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía - Cádiz presented by NEAR on CBS, Sunday at 5 p.m. EST. Relive all the action and excitement from SailGP’s closest racing yet, and [spoiler alert], a VERY impressive American team performance.