We caught up with Skipper Rome Kirby here in San Francisco where he and the US SailGP Team has been focused on training in the lead up to the SailGP United States debut. Get an inside look at how he feels the team is coming together, what they've been focusing on during two weeks of training, and what their expectations are for racing.
How is the team coming together?
In building our All-American team, I focused on recruiting a young team that will develop together. As you saw last event, we had our growing pains, but we’ve showed we can mix it up with the front runners and if we minimize mistakes, we’ll be alright.
Having a young group is beneficial in a lot of areas and we’re investing in the future. We might have to take our medicine early on here, but in the long run across the next few seasons, you’ll see us up at the front for sure.
What sort of goals will you carry into San Francisco?
We’re not setting any massive expectations. We want to win. That’s always our goal. But it’s a long season. For San Fran, our biggest focus is doing the basics right and being consistent. The things we want to achieve, whether it’s boat handling or tactics or getting off the line, if we can be consistent, we’re going to get the results. Stripping back and simplifying the game is the biggest thing for us.
What have you been focusing during training?
We’re looking forward. You’ve got to take your lessons from Sydney, you can’t sweep it under the rug. We made a lot of mistakes and we learned a ton. A lot of those mistakes were in communication and from lack of time sailing the boat. After two weeks hard training here in San Francisco I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress on many fronts.
The biggest thing is how we communicate on the boat. And how we will get off the start line as well. Riley and I have focused on our communication a bit and how we get the boat up and going.
All of us are excited to get back out racing. We’re chomping at the bit to get going.
What can we expect from the San Fran event in terms of the racing?
Definitely will see higher boats speeds, and bigger wipe outs. In San Fran, you’ve got to get off the line, and the biggest thing is it’s going to be very focused on boat-handling.
If you’re consistent with boat-handling, you’re going to get around the track in pretty good shape. If you have a boat-handling issue, if you plant it in a jibe, the deltas are going to grow pretty quickly.