Showdown guaranteed on second day of SailGP

15 FEBRUARY 2019News
Great Britain SailGP Team with United States SailGP team in hot pursuit.

SailGP teams analyzing data overnight looking for gains

SYDNEY – February 16, 2019 – Based on scores alone, day two of the world premiere of SailGP is set for an epic showdown on Sydney Harbour between the two pre-championship favourites, Japan and Australia.

What makes SailGP different to most other high-caliber sporting events is that overnight teams will analyze each other’s onboard data in the hope this shared intelligence will translate to gains on the racetrack on Saturday February 16.

SailGP’s opening event in Sydney is a huge learning curve for all six national teams as they compete onboard the world’s most technologically advanced and fastest race boats.

Other than Nathan Outteridge at the helm of Japan SailGP Team, driving the 50-foot wingsailed catamarans is a pretty fresh experience for the skippers. They are all credentialed in other high performance boats, from single-person Olympic classes upwards, but their time behind the wheel of the F50 is limited.

China SailGP team showed a moment of brilliance and guts when they pulled off a high-risk race 1 foiling start in race 1 and kept the momentum going around the five-lap course. The Chinese claimed second in the six-boat fleet behind Japan SailGP Team, a strong championship opening for Asia.

Helmsman Phil Robertson, who previously stated his team is learning something new every 10 minutes, said post-race, “We'll be a different team tomorrow - we've got a lot of study and these are conditions we haven't really seen before.”

The day 1 takeaway for Nathan Outteridge who is in charge of Japan SailGP Team is focusing on their starts. “To be honest, we gave the Australians a good head start on the second and third races. We need to work on our starts tomorrow - if we get around that first mark in front tomorrow, I think we'll be just fine.”

Great Britain is sitting third overall and overnight helmsman Dylan Fletcher and his crew will be pouring over the data. “We really need to look at how the Japanese and Australian teams were maneuvering. We were really happy with how early we could foil, but then downwind the jibes were the huge let down for us. We really need to take a good look at the data and ourselves and come back firing tomorrow.”

For the youngest team among the six competing nations, the United States, there were lessons learned and there is plenty to build on for the final day of racing in Sydney, the first event of a revolutionary new global event created by Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts.

“The racing format of the SailGP is seriously intense,” American helmsman Rome Kirby said. “When you’ve got six boats racing with massive speed differentials it can be stressful at times, and it can be really frustrating.

“If you’re not up on your foils and you see the other guys up on their foils doing 25-30 knots it’s pretty tough. But having six boats out there on the water today going head to head was seriously cool.”

Racing continues on Saturday February 16 in conditions forecast to be similar to day 1. The format is two more fleet races starting from 3pm AEDT than the deciding Match Race between the top two teams.

With the arrival of the weekend, SailGP organisers expect the spectator fleet to swell and many more to make their way to the harbour foreshore to capture a glimpse of the world’s fastest race boats.

Viewers around the globe can watch via the innovative SAILGP APP, social channels and host broadcasters. Full details can be found here.