“It’s a sign of strength in our team to come back after a bad first race, and to score two keeper races,” said Jimmy Spithill, United States SailGP Team CEO and driver, as the American team earned a third place and its first race win of the season today, recovering from an opening ninth-place finish at the first day of France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez.
Drama unfolded immediately following the U.S. win in race three, when New Zealand SailGP Team’s wingsail collapsed and crashed into the water after finishing the race. There were no injuries, and the SailGP technical team is currently assessing the damage to determine if New Zealand will be able to race tomorrow.
Spithill and team are well positioned heading into tomorrow’s Super Sunday, currently in third place overall behind joint leaders New Zealand and ROCKWOOL Denmark, and the Americans have the overall event win in their sights. Two fleet races are scheduled, followed by the final podium race in which the top three teams compete for top honors. Last year, the U.S. SailGP Team edged out New Zealand and Great Britain to claim its first event win in SailGP history.
In today’s tricky lighter-air conditions, the Gulf of Saint-Tropez provided plenty of opportunity for teams to capitalize, but also made for nerve-racking moments for U.S. SailGP Team Strategist Erika Reineke. “I think the hardest part is how the pressure fluctuations change the sailing angles, and makes calling the boat crosses even more difficult to confirm [and communicate].”
Even with a comfortable lead over ROCKWOOL Danish SailGP Team in the final race, Reineke didn’t let her guard down. “As we rounded the last top mark, I was just praying that the finish line would get here as quickly as possible. Such a cool feeling.”
How to watch:
Super Sunday is on tap for tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 10. U.S. SailGP fans can watch the action live at 7:30 a.m. EDT on SailGP’s YouTube channel. CBS Sports will air tape delayed at 5:30 p.m. EDT.