The Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier kicked off the summer racing season in Chicago this weekend, marking the start of SailGP’s Season 4 global championship.
The 10-strong fleet put on a great show for the more than 50,000 spectators gathered along “Chicago’s Skyline Stadium” – Lake Michigan between Navy Pier and the Adler Planetarium. The 10 identical F50 catamarans represent the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.
After yesterday’s perfect foiling conditions that define SailGP’s adrenaline-fueled racing, today’s ultra-light air provided a different challenge for the fleet. Even with the F50s utilizing the largest sail configuration, the 29-meter wing (95 feet), the boats could not produce enough power to foil.
Peter Burling’s New Zealand SailGP Team claimed victory over rival Tasman competitors and Chicago’s defending champion, Australia SailGP Team driven by Tom Slingsby. Phil Robertson’s Canada finished the event in third place.
Despite a second-place finish in today’s first race, the U.S. SailGP Team finished in ninth place overall. “While we had a slightly better day today, this weekend was definitely disappointing,” said U.S. SailGP Team CEO and Driver, Jimmy Spithill.
“On the bright side, it was great to see and hear the huge crowds at Navy Pier this weekend. Chicago is an iconic sports city and it’s an incredible place to race,” he added.
"SailGP has been a very welcome addition to Chicago’s sports offerings,” said Kara Bachman, executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission. "Our amazing race location, Chicago’s Skyline Stadium, delivered a great weekend to kick off the summer racing season in front of local fans and visitors alike."
Marilynn Gardner, Navy Pier President and CEO, agreed. “Navy Pier was buzzing with anticipation and excitement all weekend,” she said. “We’re grateful for this rewarding partnership with SailGP and the Chicago Sports Commission.”
SailGP heads next to a new venue on its Season 4 calendar, the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix | Port of Los Angeles on July 22-23. For the full Season 4 schedule, visit click HERE.