Jimmy Spithill and the United States SailGP Team finished the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier on a positive note today, ending with a third-place finish. While it wasn’t enough to improve the overall results, it hopefully marks the start of the team’s turnaround.
But first, Spithill sent an apology to the thousands of American fans who showed up this weekend to cheer for the team. “I want to apologize to all the family and friends, and all the spectators who were supportive of us the whole way through this weekend, irrespective of how badly we sailed in the first four races,” he said. “The crowd has been incredible and Chicago more than delivered on all fronts.”
In today’s light air conditions, the nine national teams representing the U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland utilized the largest wingsail configuration, towering 95 feet over Lake Michigan. The 29-meter wing enabled the boats to foil in the lighter conditions and the day’s top speed was 41 mph – more than four times the average wind speed of the day.
“I'd say we're much more competitive in the light air stuff,” Spithill said. “I think we showed that on Friday’s practice day, and today we were a little more competitive, but we were just not good enough. There's a lot of things we have to work on. Everyone included. Me included, obviously.”
The Australia SailGP Team continues to set the Championship benchmark in SailGP Season 3, as Tom Slingsby pulled off an impressive recovery to earn a last-minute spot in the event final, ultimately beating Great Britain and Canada.
“Look, we've got two options right now. We can either sort of curl up and cry ourselves to sleep tonight or we can say right, now let's learn the lessons and not throw the towel in," Spithill said. "That’s exactly what the team will do. Good thing that it’s a long season. We've got to come out swinging for the next one and just start climbing back up the board.”
SailGP heads to the United Kingdom next for the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth, July 30 - 31.