U.S. SailGP Team CEO and Driver Jimmy Spithill recognizes the hard work ahead at this weekend’s ROCKWOOL Sail Grand Prix | Denmark, and says the team has pulled no punches during their internal debriefs to help them improve. “We’ve been pretty harsh inside the team, looking at what we need to do to improve.”
“We’ve made some good improvements, but nothing has changed: You need to sail well, you need consistency and you need to keep the mistakes in check,” Spithill continues. “We’re slowly making adjustments and moving forwards. We know what we have to do, and there are no shortcuts.”
Coach Philippe Presti has been impressed with the level of commitment and candor from the team during those meetings. “I produce a lot of information for the team to digest. The way I see it, it’s important for me to sit back so the team shares what they see in the information and spark a discussion,” Presti says.
Presti and the team take full advantage of SailGP’s open-source approach to the Oracle data as a way to maximize learnings. “It’s a big asset that we utilize to review all the teams’ data. We review a lot of situations from other boats and listen in to their communications to see and learn how they make plays and strategies.”
Beyond crunching the numbers however, Presti recognizes his other job is, “To understand the team and give them confidence, and to help them find the best way for them to be comfortable and have conviction. This is the only way; it’s like a puzzle and we all need to put the pieces together.”
Presti and Spithill agree the team is not yet at the level needed, but both are optimistic about how things are beginning to fall into place. The team may have an opportunity to gain further ground with second-place Sir Ben Ainslie and the Great Britain SailGP Team likely out of racing tomorrow, sustaining damage to their F50 from shallow water after veering off the race track today.
The ROCKWOOL Sail Grand Prix | Denmark takes place Friday and Saturday, August 19 - 20 at 9:30 a.m. EDT each day. Fans can watch live via SailGP’s YouTube channel, and on CBS Sports tape delayed Saturday at 6:30 p.m. EDT and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. EDT.