The Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team has put on a stellar performance during practice racing in the home of Hollywood ahead of the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix. Sir Ben Ainslie’s crew won three out of the four practice races on the Port of Los Angeles despite the lighter wind.
It’s the first event in the City of Angels for SailGP and the 10 teams were eager to race on new waters. Emirates GBR took the win in the first practice race but just like any great Hollywood movie, there were ups and downs. In the second race Emirates GBR received a penalty for crossing the start line early and then finished in seventh position, but they came back fighting and won the third and fourth practice races.
Emirates GBR will be pleased with the practice session after a difficult event in Chicago in June. Driver and CEO Sir Ben Ainslie said at Friday’s press conference that it was a “frustrating” time for the team but they planned to “build from that and iron out the mistakes”.
“We’ve got a fantastic team and we’ve got talent across the board so we’ve got to stick to the processes and go out an execute when it counts,” he said. Ainslie said the Port of LA was a “tighter racecourse” and he was expecting to see “lots of unexpected maneuvers”. “That will be the biggest challenge,” he said.
Another challenge for the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix will be kelp on the racecourse and Emirates GBR team members Hannah Mills OBE and Hannah Diamond took part in a kelp harvesting mission on Wednesday in a bid to reduce that. Mills and Diamond spent the afternoon with The Bay Foundation, an organisation that studies, restores and protects the Santa Monica Bay and local coastal waters. After harvesting kelp from the ocean, Mills and Diamond returned to the foundation’s lab to feed it to endangered marine snails.
With less kelp on the course now thanks to their efforts, Mills, Diamond and the rest of the Emirates GBR Team will be hoping for a sequel of their practice day performance when the real racing takes place on Saturday and Sunday. UK viewers can watch all the action live from Los Angeles on ITVX from 00:00 BST.