Jimmy Spithill’s United States is under pressure to come out of the blocks firing when Season 4 gets underway in Chicago this month after being labelled ‘the big disappointment of Season 3’ on SailGP’s podcast.

In the latest episode of Deep Dive, hosts Freddie Carr and Stevie Morrison dissected the American team’s seventh place finish in Season 3, which marked a drastic change from Season 2’s third place podium finish.

‘Going from the Grand Final in Season 2 and dropping all the way back to seventh’ has raised ‘serious question marks’ around the team, Morrison said, which he labelled his personal ‘big disappointment’ of Season 3.

Season 3 // Singapore Sail Grand Prix // United States crew wait for wind

“This is a big month for them to reset,” he said, “they need to come out swinging at the start of Season 4.”

Morrison pointed to ‘a lot of crew changes’ on the team ‘early on’ in Season 3, which saw established flight controller Rome Kirby subbed out for newcomer Hans Henken. The strategist position was also in a state of flux, with the U.S. competing with five different strategists throughout Season 3.

Season 3// Bermuda Sail Grand Prix// USA SailGP Team// Hans Henken

“It’s never quite felt to me like the crew’s been settled,” Morrison said, adding that ‘there’s always been excuses’ made for the team’s poor performance. “There’s been the occasional ‘this isn’t good enough’, but there’s always been a reason for it - ‘we’re changing, we’re building, we’re blah, blah, blah.”

He pointed to the U.S.’s first ever event win in Saint-Tropez, which saw the team battle extreme conditions to beat New Zealand and Emirates GBR in the three-boat Final.

France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez | Season 3 | United States | Celebration

“I kind of expected them to kick on from there, because if you’re good enough to win one, why can’t you win the lot?” Morrison asked.

Carr agreed that the crew changes had a ‘massive’ impact on the team’s performance. He added that the strategist role, which the team has ‘been rotating a lot’ has ‘really come to prominence over the course of the season’. “It’s not lost on me that the teams that are doing well consistently have the same strategists throughout the season - and that’s changed a lot in the United States,” he said.

Season 3 // U.S. SailGP Team // Erika Reineke grinding in practice

Both also took issue with Andrew Campbell’s dual role as a grinder and tactician. “You’ve got a tactician whose head is down half the time grinding and looking out half the time with limited visibility,” Morrison said. “I just think that’s a complicated comms loop to build in.”

Instead, Morrison argued, it’s the driver who ‘has to make those instinctive decisions’. “These boats are going too fast and it’s too much of a process,” he said. “The USA need to give all the control back to Jimmy.”

Carr agreed that he ‘expects changes’ in the operation of the American crew. “They kind of need a bit of a shake-up to get them back to where they arguably should be - in the top half.”

Season 3 // United States SailGP Team // Cam Farrah strategist with Jimmy Spithill

The SailGP fleet will commence battle for the Season 4 title at the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier on June 16-17.