Spithill reveals Outteridge apologized for dramatic Japan/United States collision

26 APRIL 2021News

Jimmy Spithill has confirmed Nathan Outteridge apologized for the collision between Japan and the United States on the dramatic final day of the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess.

On the first race of the day in seriously windy conditions that required the first use of SailGP's new 18-meter wing, Japan attached its F50 to the US boat and caused enough damage to both boats to prevent the two teams racing again for the remainder of the event.

Shortly after, the unfortunate US team also capsized as it attempted to finish the race, due to power problems and a broken rudder caused by the incident with Japan.

The boat eventually had to be removed from the course so race five could begin, with the US and Japan sitting out the rest of the action as Great Britain was crowned winner of the first event of SailGP Season 2.

The collision and capsize made it an eventful SailGP debut for new US helm Spithill, who signed for the team for Season 2 with former helm Rome Kirby moving to flight controller.

He was obviously disappointed to see his event ended early by circumstances out of his control, but the 41-year-old appreciated the apology from Japan helm Outteridge as soon as both teams were back on shore.

“It was obviously pretty unfortunate," said Spithill on the incident. "It was awesome conditions out there and we were having a great race - maybe third or fourth going round that bottom gate - and suddenly upwind on starboard tack we saw the Japanese.

"There was a lot of space and they were on port tack, and initially we thought maybe they were going to duck us - but then they just took us out, unfortunately.

"When we got to the dock, Nathan Outteridge came up and apologized, but unfortunatley the damage was sustained just trying to separate the boats.

"Once we did get the boats untangled we were discussing that maybe we could finish the race, so we attempted to do that. But as we started, the boat lost all its power and we lost control of the wing, and not long after that the port rudder snapped and it locked, so it started to bear the boat away. And obviously we just went over.

"It was super quick getting the boat back up on its feet - and the capsize actually didn't do any damage - it was just the broken rudder and loss of power on the boat after the [collision] that led to that.

"So it was obviously very disappointing because we thought we had a good shot."

He continued: “It's just tough. In some ways it reminds me a little bit of motor racing, where at times, tight tracks, going fast like that, sometimes someone's going to take you out and there's not a lot you can do to control it.

"So obviously I'm disappointed, but I know Nathan really well and we're good mates on-shore, so the fact he came straight up and apologized is the kind of guy he is. And look, mistakes happen."

Outteridge added his own thoughts on the incident, saying: "I had a good chat with Jimmy and we exchanged some words and I think we both think that we'll do whatever we can to let that not happen again.

"We are obviously in the wrong being on port tack, but with these boats it's very difficult to see the boats when they are coming together, and he said he couldn't see us at all - hence the massive impact.

"But it's racing at the end of the day; we are out there pushing hard on very fast boats, and these things are going to happen."