- Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team left Race Day 1 with a 2-6-1 result
- Sir Ben Ainslie’s crew finished the third race with a 400m+ lead
- Strategist Hannah Mills described the course as “really hectic”
Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team sits second on the leaderboard after the first day of racing at the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix.
After a cloudy start to the day in LA, the California sunshine eventually made an appearance just in time for racing. Fans filled the grandstand on the Port of LA for a great view of the F50s lining up at the start for Race 1.
Emirates GBR had a solid start and led the first half of Race 1 before Australia took the top spot and left them in second. In Race 2, the wind dropped which made for tricky conditions for all 10 teams. Denmark were victorious in that race with Emirates GBR finishing in sixth, but the team came back fighting for the third and final race of Day 1.
Sir Ben Ainslie’s crew took the lead and was the first team to Mark 1, they then displayed their expertise by getting up on the foils despite the light wind. Once they were on foils, Emirates GBR set a pace that was impossible for the other teams to compete with and crossed the finish line 400m+ ahead of Spain, who finished in second place. Although Emirates GBR led the entire race, Driver and CEO Ainslie said the team was not relaxed until they crossed the finish line.
“With SailGP anything can happen,” he said.
“We had a massive lead but we were definitely very conscious that it could go in an instant if we got ourselves stuck in low wind. We did a good job and Hannah did a nice job keeping us in the breeze and the boys sailing the boats did well so it was a real team effort today, and on a tight racecourse like that it needed to be.”
Strategist Hannah Mills OBE said the Los Angeles course was “really hectic”.
“There were boats everywhere and we really fell foul of that in the second race,” she said.
“We got completely wedged between a couple of boats on the boundary and that made our race really hard.
“It’s just tough when the course is so tight and there’s 10 boats racing around it, if you make one little mistake you’re really punished.”
When it came to third race, Mills said it was a combination of factors that made it a success.
“We had a good start, we had clear air and we had room below to press to the angle we wanted to get up on the foils and the guys did a great job in getting us op on the foils – it was very close.”
At the end of Day 1 the leaderboard consisted of Australia top, followed by Emirates GBR and Denmark. It will be all be to sail for in Sunday’s racing which UK viewers can follow live on ITVX from 00:00 BST.