“It’s so energizing to finish our first event as a team with a third place in that final race,” said Taylor Canfield, driver for the United States SailGP Team at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas. Canfield and the American team finished the event in eighth place overall.
Dubai marked the team’s first event since the new ownership and investor group took over the U.S. SailGP Team. “I’m proud of our entire team,” Canfield said. “We’ve come a long way in a very short period of time. We have more work to do, but this weekend showed we have the ability to compete at the top of the fleet.”
In the lighter air conditions, all 10 F50s used the 29-meter wingsail and raced with five athletes on board. In the final fleet race today, Canfield showcased his aggressive pre-start technique, a signature style that the seven-time world champion is well known for among his peers.
As the fleet converged toward the line, Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team attempted to squeeze between the starting mark and the American team, but did not have the rights nor room to do so cleanly. Race officials disqualified the Brits. The strong start spurred the team to its top finish of the weekend.
“This is great momentum for the new team as it is already looking ahead to Abu Dhabi in one month’s time,” said Mark Ivey, coaching his first event with the team. “We have more work to do around on-board communication, timing, and of course execution, but it feels great to leave Dubai on a positive note.”
The new team includes Canfield, who has extensive experience in the flight controller position, but first time in the driver's seat. Alex Sinclair and Peter Kinney continue as grinders, and Mac Agnese as grinder and first-time flight controller. They are joined by first-timers: co-owner and CEO Mike Buckley (reserve strategist), Sara Stone (strategist), Victor Diaz de Leon (wing trimmer), Leo Takahashi (reserve flight controller) and Scott Ewing (grinder).
Former U.S. national soccer player Jozy Altidore joined the team in Dubai. “I wanted to come and support the team – it is really a special thing to be a part of something so exciting – SailGP is on the verge of something really big – and for me I love that I am able to invest into a team that represents my country.”
Next up on the SailGP Season 4 calendar is the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix, January 13 - 14, 2024.