Official practice racing in Chicago has been cancelled due to bad weather, meaning SailGP’s 10-strong F50 fleet will not have the chance to warm up ahead of this weekend’s Season 4 opener.
Gusts of up to 53 km/h forecast on the racetrack of Lake Michigan forced race management to call off the teams’ crucial training time.
This means that only half of the fleet will have trained on Lake Michigan ahead of racing, with France, Emirates GBR, Spain, New Zealand and Australia going into the season’s opener completely cold.
Meanwhile Germany, the United States, Denmark, Switzerland and Canada were able to briefly hit the water on Thursday, sharing the Swiss, American and German F50s between them. But newcomer team Germany will go straight into official racing without the opportunity to size the fleet up in practice first.
Speaking about the decision to cancel practice racing, race management manager Mel Roberts pointed to F50s’ current configuration of the 24m wing, light air boards (LAB) and light air rudder wings (LARW).
“After assessing the conditions on the water, we felt it would have been risky to send the boats out in the rough sea state and high winds with today's equipment configuration,” she said, adding 'we are confident this was the right decision to preserve the boats for the start of the season tomorrow.'
A statement from SailGP added that the conditions were ‘beyond the parameters for the F50s in their current configuration’, but said the opening day of the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier will go ahead as planned on June 16.