The countdown to the SailGP Mubadala Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco - the 11th and final event of the season - has begun.
The nine international teams will meet on the iconic waters of San Francisco Bay on May 6-7. Defending champions Australia have already booked their place in the three-boat, winner-takes-all Grand Final, and Peter Burling’s New Zealand looks set to join them.
But France, currently in third on the overall leaderboard, is just one-point ahead of Ben Ainslie’s Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team. This sets the stage for a fierce showdown in San Francisco’s fleet racing as the two teams battle it out to reach the Final.
Ahead of the event, we dig into the data and compare the teams’ performances to see which is most likely to make it to the Grand Final shootout.
Data provided by the F50 fleet compares the performances of both teams throughout the 10 events of Season 3 so far, across light, medium and strong wind conditions.
In overall fleet racing, Emirates Team GBR performs marginally better, with an average leg rank of 4.1 in comparison to France’s 4.9. But in the three-boat Final format, it’s France with the upper hand. Quentin Delapierre’s crew has a leg rank average of 1.6 in Final races compared to Emirates Team GBR’s 2.7.
In both light (under 11km/h) and medium (11-15 km/h) wind conditions, Emirates Team GBR is the better team, with an average leg rank of 4.9 in light winds compared to France’s 5.5 and rank of 3.6 in medium winds compared to France’s rank of 5.
But in high winds exceeding 15 km/h, the two teams are evenly matched with average leg ranks of 4.2. San Francisco, a traditionally high wind venue, will therefore set the scene for a showdown between the two teams, which could result in dramatic match racing tactics throughout the fleet racing.
Looking back on the 10 events of Season 3 so far, it’s clear that the two teams have delivered a similar level of performance since Plymouth.
France has a higher season average finishing position of 3.9, while Emirates Team GBR’s is slightly lower at 4.2.
France’s worst result this season was two 8th place finishes in Bermuda and Singapore, while Emirates Team GBR finished in 9th and last place in Copenhagen after the team’s F50 sustained significant damage in practice and was unable to race. The team’s worst racing result meanwhile was two 5th place finishes in Cadiz and Singapore.
When it comes to three boat Finals, Emirates Team GBR has made it through to the three-boat stand-off four times, while France has had three Final appearances (Copenhagen, Cadiz and Dubai).
France has won one Final out of three (Cadiz), plus an additional event win in Sydney that was decided on fleet racing.
Comparatively, Emirates Team GBR has appeared in four Finals this season - Bermuda, Chicago, Saint-Tropez and Dubai - but failed to win any.
While Emirates Team GBR is statistically more likely to make it into a Final than France, the French are more likely to win it.
Powered by Oracle, SailGP Insights is an online dashboard which provides fans with huge amounts of data from our cutting-edge racing F50 catamarans.