United States driver Jimmy Spithill has outlined his key ambitions for the new season ahead of Chicago, describing his team as a ‘solid, locked-in squad’.
It comes after frequent crew rotation resulted in turbulent on water performances in Season 3. The team’s results fluctuated from finishing eighth at home in Chicago to an event win in Saint-Tropez. Overall, the team finished Season 3 in seventh - a significant drop from their third place Season 2 finish behind Japan and Australia.
“If I look back on Season 3, it was just inconsistency,” Spithill said. “Inconsistency in our line-up and inconsistency in our results. We went from winning events to finishing down the bottom end in others.”
The secret to SailGP, he said, has been proved to be ‘consistency - it’s as simple as that’.
After rotating Hans Henken and Rome Kirby in the flight control position and racing with five different strategists on board in Season 3, the crew line-up heading into Chicago’s season opener is ‘locked in’.
“We have a solid, core squad and now it’s just about going out there, continuing to learn and really keep that team locked together.”
Spithill also highlighted the fact that the U.S. team picked up the most penalty points throughout Season 3; a total of 29, as well as two eight-point event penalties at the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix and San Francisco Grand Final for causing contact and damage. This meant the team was docked a total of eight points from its season championship score.
“We just can’t afford to go out and lose points for silly things like that,” he said. In Season 4, the U.S. will be focused on striking a better balance between risk and reward.
“The risk has got to weigh up versus the rewards, and you’ve got to think about the long term gain.”
Setting his intentions for the opening battle in Chicago and the season itself, Spithill said: “Get out there, have clean races and try and finish in the top half to have a shot at qualifying for the podium race.”
The Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier will take place on June 16 and 17, with racing scheduled between 4pm-5.30pm CDT. After Chicago, SailGP will remain in the United States for the Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix on July 22-23.