In a light-air contest on the Persian Gulf, the United States SailGP Team secured a third-place finish at the first-ever Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, behind New Zealand and Spain. The podium result propelled the American team into third overall on the Season 4 leaderboard.
Throughout the weekend, the U.S. SailGP Team finished five of the six races in fourth place or better, a feat that Driver Taylor Canfield is particularly proud of for the new squad. “Our results show that we have the ability to compete at the top of the grid,” said Canfield.
This is the third time the American boat qualified for an event finals in Season 4, and the first time for the revamped team, racing in just their second event since new ownership acquired the team.
Sara Stone, one of the new athletes with the team, said she felt excitement more than nerves prior to her first SailGP podium race. “You can’t help but recognize it all comes down to this one race, and I’m proud that we raced the final like we wanted to win it,” she said. “Even though it didn’t go our way it was great to be in the mix, and more importantly it shows the potential we have to compete at the top.”
Canfield agreed. “We are racing the boat well, especially when you realize nearly everyone is learning the F50. Even when we were behind in races, we navigated through traffic and passed boats.”
Abu Dhabi is the seventh event in SailGP’s 13-event Season 4, and the podium result has moved the American team back into third place overall (43 points) on the season leaderboard, behind Australia (56 points), New Zealand (50 points).
Canfield acknowledged the next two locations – home events for Season 4 leaders Australia and New Zealand – will present new challenges for the team, which has yet to race in high winds.
“The F50 is a lot to handle at high speeds, but we have the talent and potential to quickly adapt,” Canfield said
The league heads next to Sydney for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix, February 24 - 25.