- Light and tricky conditions for the fleet on final race day in Chicago
- A day to remember for the Swiss after claiming first race win of the new season (R5)
- The American leg of Season 4 continues next month in Los Angeles
It's a day to remember for Swiss SailGP Team after claiming its first race win of the new season at the second and final day of the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago. The team placed 8 and 1 in the day's two short fleet races.
Yesterday was all about managing the big breeze on the lake whilst today was all about managing the big wing, creating enough momentum to get the F50s around the course in the dying breeze. The crew onboard was reduced from six to four; strategist Laurane Mettraux was back on handles along with flight controller Jason Saunders.
Driver Sébastian Schneiter likened the day to racing back home in Switzerland. “It reminded us of Swiss lake conditions out there today, it was a bit of a drift off, which is something we are used to! But it was still racing and it was good to see that our communication was working really well onboard. This helped us to win the race."
The 10-strong fleet of F50 catamarans once again raced in front of Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier. New Zealand took the overall event win with three-time SailGP Champions, Australia SailGP Team, finishing the event in second and Canada in third.
Schneiter continued, “We know that in these conditions it’s a lot about having a good feel for the boat, trying to find any little breeze there is and staying switched on the whole time. It is quite easy to switch off and think it’s all about luck. But we sailed really well and deserved that race win.
"It’s a good way to start the new season but the season is long, this is the very beginning, and we have some high expectations for this year. We knew this first event was going to be a bit tough, racing as a new crew, but alongside the race win there’s been a lot of positives from this weekend.”
Team sailing advisor Glenn Ashby on the season opener, "It was really different conditions from one day to the next, which is never easy. Yesterday we had a nice breeze on Lake Michigan, but today it was the total opposite. It was light with no foiling. So there's been some extreme and interesting conditions thrown at the team.
“Will [Ryan] did a fantastic job of stepping into the wing trimmer position and it was great for the Swiss to take the race win in the last fleet race of the day. It’s been an awesome team effort this weekend and there’s a lot of momentum heading into next event in Los Angeles next month."
The American leg of SailGP Season 4 continues next month with the inaugural Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix, July 22-23, 2023.