The final installment of SailGP’s action packed and drama filled third season is approaching. As we ramp up for the Mubadala Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco on May 6-7, we look back on the dramatic Season 2 finale, which was packed with close crosses, high risk racing strategies and freak weather conditions.
The drama started early on in last season’s finale, with both home favorites the United States and defending champions Australia capsizing amid San Francisco’s gusty conditions in practice.
The United States F50 was unscathed, but the Aussie wing sustained damage, which meant the team had to enter a race against time to get the green and gold F50 repaired in time.
Thousands of fans lined the San Francisco Bay as racing finally got underway, with plenty of tense team rivalries and dramatic moments playing out throughout fleet racing.
The second day of racing couldn't have been packed with more drama, with the Spanish dramatically boarding the American boat as they attempted to secure the inside track.
For the second time, SailGP’s Tech Team worked against the clock, this time to get the U.S. F50 repaired in time to race in the Grand Final. The possibility that the Americans might have to retire ratcheted up the pressure on Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team.
The team, which was sitting in fourth place, was in prime position to step into the Grand Final if the U.S. withdrew. This resulted in plenty of high risk racing as the fifth and final fleet race got underway, with Emirates Team GBR executing a ruthless close cross against New Zealand and France.
Thankfully, the U.S. was cleared to enter the Final and went to battle against long standing season rivals Japan and Australia. The Final was well underway, with the United States leading at Mark One, when a whale was spotted on the course and the race was abandoned.
Australian driver Tom Slingsby took control early on as the second Grand Final got underway and executed a dominant performance to secure a 500m advantage ahead of Japan and the U.S.
Ultimately, it was Slingsby and the Aussie team that would demonstrate their strategic nous and unshakeable resolve to cross the finish line first and seal a second consecutive Championship victory.
The Aussies have once again qualified for the Season 3 three-boat winner-takes-all Grand Final, and New Zealand looks set to join them. But with just one-point between France in third and Emirates Team GBR in fourth, San Francisco’s fleet racing looks set to host a fierce showdown between these two teams.
Five fleet races will precede the final three-boat race, allowing the rest of the fleet crucial time to gear up for the start of Season 4 in June.