With a thrilling head to head guaranteed on Sunday between Japan’s Nathan Outteridge and Australia’s Tom Slingsby the event scoring will be a vital part of the equation to determine who walks away with the Championship title and the US$1 million prize.
Sydney, San Francisco, New York, and Cowes have all led to the impending Grand Final in Marseille. Each event so far has comprised of five fleet races, all with 10 points up for grabs for a race win. Nine points go to second, eight to third and so on, until just five points is awarded to the last place boat.
Each event to date has been decided by a final match race between the top two teams, with one point awarded to the winner of the match race and zero for the loser. To ensure it’s the team with the most points that wins the event, if they were the second placed boat going into the match race, instead of one point, they win one point more than the overall leaders event score. The SailGP Season 1 Grand Final will use the same methodology. One race and 15 minutes will decide the SailGP Champion for Season 1.
Teams have been battling to put points on the leaderboard to ensure they are on the podium in Marseille, where the point values from the overall leaderboard, plus the final eight races decides not only which two teams will face off in the final, but who else will be crowned on the podium.
The Marseille championship format consists of three days of racing, with eight scheduled races leading up to the ultimate final to crown the overall season champion. However, if a team qualifies for the final match race before Sunday, they will not be required to race in the fleet races scheduled for Sunday, to limit damage to their boat and to make the battle for third place on the podium even more high stakes.
Thus far this season, the Australia SailGP team has dominated the podium and final match race, with three wins. The Japan SailGP Team had an impressive showing in New York City and will be hot on the team’s tails. Will they have the comeback of the season? Slingsby has proven he can focus and make the boat go the fastest, but Outteridge has a head for tactics and a strong read on the racecourse.
Third place through sixth place still have all to play for. Only ten points apart, and with 50 points up for grabs during racing in Marseille, a leaderboard shake-up could be in order. Both the British and Chinese teams had strong showings on the first day of in Marseille, battling amongst the top two, the Australia and Japan SailGP Teams, and proving the learning curve in the F50 is accelerating.
The competition is on, the helmsman is thirsty for action, and it’s not just about getting first place anymore, they’ve got sights set on any way to climb the leaderboard and leave the fleet in the dust. No one could’ve expected the fleet to be this closely matched in time for the final.