American driver Taylor Canfield has debriefed the revamped team’s first Final, which saw the USA come away with a third place in Abu Dhabi.
It was only the second event for the team since its ownership shake up, which saw Canfield replace outgoing driver Jimmy Spithill and usher in a new crew line up.
After winning fleet racing on points, the Americans were at a the top of the leaderboard heading into Abu Dhabi’s three-boat Final against Spain and New Zealand, but remained determined to win the event overall. The USA pursued leaders New Zealand throughout the final race in an effort to overtake, but were passed by the Kiwis and Spanish to finish third.
Reflecting on the Final, Canfield admitted he had raced ‘in a first or last mentality’ and ‘looking back that might have been a little greedy’.
However, he said the third place result was ‘a great step for the team’. “We’re learning every minute we’re out there. We’re a little bit disappointed to be third of the event, but it’s still a great result.”
Strategist Sara Stone agreed that the team had ‘raced like we wanted to win it’.
“It’s so good to race with a group where it’s not over until it’s over - you never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “As much as you try to keep the nerves down, you can’t help but recognize that it’s all up to this one race - hopefully next time around we can put it together a little better and come good.”
Looking ahead to the rest of Season 4, Canfield said there is ‘plenty more to come’ from the new team, vowing ‘we’re going to move up the leaderboard’.
Next up, SailGP returns to the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour for the 8th stop of Season 4’s 13-event calendar. Canfield, who sailed with the USA team in Season 1 and 2 in Sydney, said the new-look team ‘has to be ready for anything’ when the league arrives in Australia.
The last two events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have marked a relatively low risk entrance into the league for the new team, with flat water and low wind conditions. But Sydney is known for its traditionally windier conditions, as well as tides and shifts, which Australia driver Tom Slingsby said will give the home team an advantage.
“We’re going to have to play it a bit by ear,” Canfield said. “We’ve seen a little bit of everything in Sydney - a lot of wind directions and strengths.”
“I love the venue and Shark Island being positioned in the middle of the racecourse definitely mixes it up - we’re excited to be there.”
The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney takes place on February 24-25.