SailGP launches its first ever event in the U.S. today with six national teams on the start line at 12:30 pm PDT in San Francisco Bay.
Fans can expect the spectacular when SailGP teams from the United States, Australia, China, France, Great Britain and Japan take to the racecourse for the ultimate showdown and the chance to put points on the board and a step closer to the one million dollar prize purse.
If yesterday's practice race is any indication of the competition we will see today, it's going to be intense on The North Bay Course, between the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
Spectators can look forward to windy weather on the Bay with high action and high drama expected. Winds are predicted to increase out of the west-south-west (WSW) and build to 20 knots with gusts over 25 knots. Combined with a strong tide, these winds will create a chaotic sea state, adding another element of challenge for the athletes, pushing them to their limits.
Team Japan has the target on their back after winning four out of four practice races and coming within less than a knot of breaking the elusive 50-knot barrier. The five other nations will be gunning to take them down.
Japan SailGP Team’s helm Nathan Outteridge is leading the team with enthusiasm, "It's all going very well; we've been very productive with our time on the water. Every team's going to be watching what we're doing, and they're going to be better, so we have to be prepared for that."
In the top end conditions on San Francisco Bay, racing is all about control and precision. When the breeze is on, the teams are working harder to keep the turbo-charged catamarans balanced and foiling. It's not just about speed; it's about stability.
The Great Britain SailGP Team proved to be one of the steadier boats on the course and were hot on the tail of the Japanese team during yesterday's practice race.
"In Sydney we were good but our maneuvers were terrible, but we feel now they're better and we have been doing a lot of work in this area. They're not as good as Nathan's and the Japanese team, but we're getting there." Said helmsmen Dylan Fletcher.
The Race Village on the Marina Yacht Club Peninsula opens at 10 am and is free to the public. Racing starts at 12.30 pm PST with all boats taking part in three races.
Want courtside seats to the action? Limited tickets are available at SailGP.com/SanFrancisco.
Make sure you don’t miss any of the action by downloading the SailGP APP which is now available on both iOS and Android, allowing fans a customized experience to the racing!
Race broadcasts will be streamed globally, head to http://sailgp.com/watch for programming information in your area.
Race day one crew lists are as follows:
Australia SailGP Team
Helm – Tom Slingsby
Wing Trimmer – Kyle Langford
Flight Controller – Jason Waterhouse
Grind 1 – Ky Hurst
Grind 2 – Sam Newton
China SailGP Team
Helm – Phil Robertson
Wing Trimmer – Ed Powys
Flight Controller – Thomas Le Breton
Grind 1 – Liu ‘Leo’ Ming
Grind 2 – Liu ‘Black’ Xue
France SailGP Team
Helm – Billy Besson
Wing Trimmer – Matthieu Vandame
Flight Controller – Marie Riou
Grind 1 – Olivier Herledant
Grind 2 – Timothe Lapauw
Great Britain SailGP Team
Helm – Dylan Fletcher
Wing Trimmer – Chris Draper
Flight Controller – Stu Bithell
Grind 1 – Nick Hutton
Grind 2 – Matt Gotrel
Japan SailGP Team
Helm – Nathan Outteridge
Wing Trimmer – Iain Jensen
Flight Controller – Luke Parkinson
Grind 1 – Yuki Kasatani
Grind 2 – Leo Takahashi
United States SailGP Team
Helm – Rome Kirby
Wing Trimmer – Riley Gibbs
Flight Controller – Taylor Canfield
Grind 1 – Dan Morris
Grind 2 – Hans Henken