Rounding out an up-and-down event on a high note, Jimmy Spithill’s United States SailGP Team finished the final fleet race in second place, but ultimately leave the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch with sixth-place overall.
Spihill, CEO and driver, who has continued to shuffle the team roster this season for both planned and unplanned reasons, gave kudos to Cameron Farrah and Rome Kirby, two athletes in new positions on the F50 this weekend despite zero practice time.
It was Strategist Farrah’s first time ever on the F50, and while Kirby is no stranger to the foiling race boat, this weekend marked his first time in the grinder / tactician role. Farrah and Kirby joined teammates Spithill (driver), Paul Campbell-James (wing trimmer), Hans Henken (flight control), Cooper Dressler and Alex Sinclair (grinders).
Spithill said, “Despite Friday’s practice canceled [forecasted high winds], and no warm up or practice for the team prior to racing both days due to dolphins on the race course, Cam and Rome both did an awesome job in their new roles.”
The American’s neighbor to the north, Canada, earned its first SailGP event victory, with the home team New Zealand finishing in second place, followed by the Season 3 overall leader, Australia, in third place.
“We had fantastic racing and crowds this weekend in Christchurch, and congrats to Canada on their first win,” said Spithill. “While we struggled all weekend to get off the start line clean, the team made some great comebacks, which will give us confidence heading into San Francisco.”
Reflecting on the season overall, Campbell-James said, “Sure, it’s a knife in the side – we finished last season in third overall and now we sit here in seventh place. But, we’ve used this year well to develop the crew and we’re well set for next year.
“Next up is the United States and for sure, we’re going to use San Francisco to try and make sure we get a win on home soil,” Campbell-James said.
SailGP turns next to the United States Sail Grand Prix and the Grand Final event in San Francisco May 6 -7 (tickets on sale now). The action-packed weekend will include the San Francisco event, plus the much anticipated Grand Final race – a $1 million, winner-take-all race between the season’s top three teams.
Currently, Australia (84 points) and New Zealand (73 points) have a comfortable hold on first and second overall in the standings, and it’s a tightly contested battle between current third-place France (69 points) and Emirates Great Britain (68 points) as likely contenders to round out the top three for the final thrilling winner-take-all race.