SailGP Season 2 has flown by and we are already well into the second half of the campaign, with this weekend’s Spain Sail Grand Prix marking the sixth event of the season.
It’s been a thrilling Championship so far, and with just three events to go the rankings are tighter than ever with high-flying Japan topping the leaderboard.
The top three teams in the Season Championship at the end of the campaign qualify for the winner-takes-all Grand Final, and the eight national teams have their sights set on achieving this goal to be in with a chance of winning the SailGP trophy.
We are expecting plenty more drama in Cadiz this weekend, and here’s why you should tune in for the Spain Sail Grand Prix on 9-10 October.
The race for the Grand Final
As mentioned, Japan are currently sitting top of the Season Championship with 37 points after five events. Nathan Outteridge’s team are two points ahead of both the United States and Australia, with Great Britain a further three points back.
Seeing as the winner of each event is awarded ten points in the Championship, there is stilly plenty of time for the leaderboard to alter drastically before the Grand Final in San Francisco next March.
But Japan – aided by some superb performances over the past few months – have put themselves in a fine position heading into this critical stage of the campaign, and remaining on form should guarantee qualification for the Grand Final.
It is up to the teams below Japan to challenge them by taking maximum points at the remaining events. Given there are three places up for grabs in the Grand Final, there is no need to knock Japan off top spot, but moving into first increases the distance between your team and the chasing pack – and this distance could prove valuable as we near the end of the season.
Spain to impress in home waters?
Spain remain without an event win this season, but Phil Robertson’s team have undeniably put in some strong performances throughout the campaign. Twice they have qualified for event Finals – in Taranto and Saint-Tropez – and heading into the Cadiz event the Spanish sit fifth in the Season Championship – only one point behind Great Britain.
Spain have all season been building up to their home event this weekend, and Driver Robertson will hope his team’s performance level reaches its peak in home waters. Furthermore, claiming a first event win of the season would not only delight the home fans, it could also see Spain rise to the top of the Season Championship if other results go their way.
Introducing France’s new Driver
Following a disappointing performance in Saint-Tropez, which left them sitting bottom of the Season Championship, France’s management team decided to replace Billy Besson with a new Driver.
Quentin Delapierre, who represented his country at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, has been brought in to turn around France’s fortunes in the remaining three events of the campaign.
The French are most certainly not out the running of qualifying for the season-ending Grand Final, but Delapierre will need to perform at the top of his game straight away to get their campaign back on track.
With little training on the F50 and hardly any time to meet his crew ahead of this weekend’s racing, it could be a real baptism of fire for France’s new skipper in Cadiz.
Women's Pathway Program to make its mark
SailGP’s road to creating a more inclusive championship reaches another milestone this weekend, as the Women's Pathway Program athletes will race onboard our F50s for the first time in the global championship's history.
SailGP introduced the WPP at the start of Season 2 as part of its better sport strategy to promote inclusion, inspire change and provide opportunities across all levels of the sport, and a decision to increase from five crew onboard to six as a new standard and light-wind configuration means WPP athletes can gain valuable experience needed to race the cutting-edge F50.
Looking ahead to future seasons, the new six-crew configuration (or four in light winds) is a major step forward to reducing the disparity between genders in the sport. With the exception of the event in Sydney in December – owing to limitations caused by COVID-19 – fans can expect to see more female athletes taking to the race course.
WPP athletes gearing up for adrenaline-fueled racing in Cádiz include: Nina Curtis (AUS), Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN), Amelie Riou (FRA), Hannah Mills (GBR), Sena Takano (JPN), Erica Dawson (NZL), Andrea Emone (ESP) and CJ Perez (USA).