Season 4’s opening battle in Chicago delivered plenty of drama, with near misses, contentious penalties and rivalries resumed. From Germany’s highly anticipated debut to Emirates GBR’s devastating penalty, here are five moments you might have missed from Chicago.
The United States struggles at home
Hopes were high for Jimmy Spithill’s home team as Season 4 dawned, with Spithill himself promising to chase consistent results with a locked in squad. Despite some excellent starts, the Americans had a challenging weekend, picking up a 9-10-6-2-8 race record to finish in 9th place overall ahead of Germany.
Despite being new to the league and missing out on practice racing, Erik Heil’s new Germany team was raring to go when the first fleet race got underway. The team surprised fans with a solid debut performance. Despite finishing at the back of the pack overall, Heil’s crew spent much of the first day fighting mid-fleet and even reached fourth place.
The Aussie X Kiwi rivalry reignites
After a fierce, last-minute fight in San Francisco’s Grand Final, it was business as usual for the Kiwis and Aussies when Season 4 got underway. The two teams spent much of the weekend going head to head, culminating in the Kiwis mastering tricky light wind conditions to pip Tom Slingsby’s crew to the finish line of the Final.
Race wins for Switzerland and Spain
Rookie teams Switzerland and Spain thrived in the light wind conditions, with both teams picking up a race win on the second day of racing. This meant that Spain finished the event in 5th overall - a decent result for Diego Botin’s crew, while Switzerland finished in 8th.
Emirates GBR’s devastating penalty
An early start in the fourth fleet race saw Emirates GBR pick up an OCS penalty alongside Australia. But while Australia dropped behind the rest of the fleet, Emirates GBR failed to clear its penalty by the end of the first leg - resulting in another penalty that sent the team to the back of the pack behind Germany. Despite the penalty, Ainslie’s crew managed to salvage four places throughout the rest of the race - finishing in sixth.