- Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team finish Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in eighth place
- Giles Scott’s crew just two points off third position on Season 4 Championship leaderboard
- Emirates GBR CEO, and former Driver, Sir Ben Ainslie “getting used to” watching from coaches booth
The Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team has finished the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in eighth place. New Driver Giles Scott said he was “disappointed” with the result but the Team would “take it on the chin and look towards the next event in Sydney”. The result means Emirates GBR now sits sixth in the Season 4 Championship leaderboard, but just two points off third position.
After finishing all three races on Day 1 in seventh position, Emirates GBR had an improved performance on Day 2, finishing in fifth and then fourth in the two fleet races. Due to the lighter air, all 10 Teams were using the 29m wing with crew size reduced from six people on-board to four. New Zealand, Spain and United States were the three top teams after the five fleet races across the two days and battled it out in the Event Final. New Zealand was victorious, winning their second event in a row. The win means Peter Burling’s crew joins Emirates GBR as a team that has won back-to-back events this Season, after the British crew won in France and Italy.
Scott described Emirates GBR’s performance at the event as “a bit vanilla”.
“We didn’t have amazing races, but we didn’t have any shockers either,” he said.
“We’ve got to get used to all conditions and for my first event we had a shot at the super light conditions.
“I’m disappointed to end up in eighth position but we will take it on chin and looks towards the next event in Sydney. There were some good points, we raced pretty well, but it was a dog fight on that tight course in the light conditions.”
Hannah Mills said she thought the team sailed well considering the light conditions and the fact it was the first event with new driver Giles Scott.
“With limited practice time in SailGP it was never going to be easy for us, but I think we sailed well for our first event with Giles as Driver. There were lots of positive moments and we had some good starts, so we will go away as a Team and look at where we can improve to hopefully come back stronger in Sydney.”
Emirates GBR CEO Sir Ben Ainslie, who stood down from the Driver role after the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix, was in Abu Dhabi for the racing. Ainslie watched Scott’s debut from the coaches booth with Emirates GBR Coach Rob Wilson.
“It’s taking a bit of getting used to, watching from the shoreline, but it’s fascinating to watch from that side” he said.
“It’s such a tougher job than I’ve ever realised, so credit to these coaches, there’s a lot of data they’ve got to get on top of.
“From the booth we can feed back about the data and the wind on the course but it’s still down to the sailors out there, they’re in the thick of it and making the decisions.
“It’s an incredibly tight racecourse and the light conditions made it tough for all the teams, which is reflected in the results. The difference between success and failure is very small.”
The result follows a busy week in Abu Dhabi for Emirates GBR. On Wednesday, Emirates GBR Grinders Matt Gotrel MBE, Neil Hunter and Nick Hutton visited Ferrari World at Yas Island to take on the world’s fastest rollercoaster, which reaches 240km/h in 4.9 seconds. Hutton said it was “amazing” to experience the rollercoaster but he “felt much more at home, and less sick” flying on the Emirates GBR F50.
On Thursday, Emirates GBR hosted a Women’s Pathway Programme training session on its F50, involving female athletes from all 10 SailGP Teams. Emirates GBR offered up its F50 to enable SailGP’s female athletes to gain experience and develop in different crew roles. Emirates GBR Strategist Hannah Mills OBE said it was “awesome” to be on the water with an all-female crew.
On Saturday, pop legends Take That performed after the racing in Abu Dhabi, with fans treated to a set packed with hits, including Shine, Relight My Fire and Rule The World.
For all the latest news and updates on Emirates GBR, visit the Team’s website here.