• One of the most challenging and competitive stages of Season 4 so far
  • Teams challenged further with reduced crew onboard [four / six]
  • Second of two back-to-back Sail Grand Prix events in the Middle East
  • Next stop for Switzerland SailGP Team: the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix (24/25 February)
Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix | Season 4 | Switzerland | Racing

The light racing conditions in Abu Dhabi didn’t stop it from being one of the most competitive stages of the season so far. The capital of the UAE offered plenty of drama throughout the weekend, but the venue was especially testing for Switzerland SailGP Team, leaving driver Sebastien Schneiter to claim today was one of the team’s 'toughest days' since joining the league.

The Swiss started the event with a painful penalty after contact with Emirates GBR during Friday’s practice racing. A close incident with ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team in the final fleet race of the day saw the team docked further points overall.

Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix | Season 4 | Fleet | Racing

The short racecourse even challenged the most experienced teams; carnage at the start of Race 4 saw seven out of the ten teams over and receive penalties, and for the first-time this season, Championship leaders Australia didn’t make it to the three-team winner takes all final. Spain were the stand out team of the event, finishing second alongside USA in third and New Zealand SailGP Team, who took their second SailGP victory in a row.

Driver Sebastien Schneiter said: “It was a tough day and event for us. In the first race today, it was a tricky situation with most of the fleet over, and we were not sure until after mark one which boat we had to go behind [to lose it]. Then in our final race, we were very unfortunate to get some penalties points for getting too close with Denmark. I personally didn’t think we touched - I still have to look into it - but that was pretty painful.

“All the penalties we received this event were pretty harsh. In this set up in the F50 it's hard to know if you touch another boat, but at the same time we know the rules and it’s the same for everyone.”

Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix | Season 4 | Switzerland | Crew

Wing trimmer Will Ryan said:, “It’s obviously not the result we are looking for here in Abu Dhabi. I think there’s a lot of positives from yesterday - where we had a new and different configuration for the racecourse - but today we came back to the classic style again and we really struggled to get a nice exit out of that first mark one. It was a really short racecourse today - only three legs - and that was a big deciding point on the racetrack, not many passing lanes after that.

"But we are looking forward now. Sydney is going to be a really different event, with a lot more wind, so I think we will come back to our basics of what made us good in the events before and we are looking forward to having the full crew back onboard, sailing six-up again. We are really excited to head back there, it's one of our favourite racing venues in the league.”

The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council was the seventh event of Season 4. The 10 strong F50 fleet will next meet in Sydney, at the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix (24/25 February).