Fresh of the team’s first race win at the U.S. SailGP Team’s home event in New York City last month, the young American team has arrived at Cowes SailGP – the penultimate event of the inaugural SailGP Championship – hot on the heels of the British team, looking to climb onto the overall championship podium.
Separated by just a single point in the overall standings, the American squad has closed the gap with its British rivals over the past two events, laying down massive gains that culminated in a victory in the final race of New York SailGP.
“New York SailGP was a good event for us. We’ve had a few days of practice here and coming off our strong performance in New York we’re feeling confident here,” said U.S. SailGP Team Helmsman, Rome Kirby.
Asked about his plans to upset the home team, Kirby did not hide his opinion on the matter. “That’s the goal. We’re trying to put the heat on ‘em. We obviously want to win,” he said.
Four days of practice on The Solent culminated in official practice racing today as the U.S. team led both starts, fully foiling off the line, placing the team in commanding positions at the first reaching mark.
Several wind shifts created tactical challenges led to many lead changes throughout the two practice races, and the American team ended the day with two third-place finishes, right in contention with the overall Championship leaders.
If this week’s breezy conditions are any indication, the Cowes SailGP event should provide one of the windiest venues for the fleet to date, as multiple teams have already broken the elusive 50-knot mark previously unseen in the F50 class.
Great Britain SailGP Team was first to break the 50-knot barrier earlier in the week and was quickly succeeded by the Australian and Japanese teams the following day.
With the American speedometer climbing past 48 knots on Wednesday, Kirby is itching to set the racing speed record this weekend during racing.
“Racing these boats this close and this fast here in Cowes; it has been unbelievable.”
With heavy weather forecast for the coming days, SailGP event organizers have issued the following advisory:
“We continue to work with relevant experts and authorities to closely monitor the weather forecast for this weekend’s Cowes SailGP. At this time, it is nearly certain that the expected adverse weather will impact our event on Saturday.
While the schedule currently remains as published, we anticipate making a decision regarding Saturday racing by 8 a.m. Friday morning. The safety of every athlete, fan and other stakeholder involved is of the utmost importance and we appreciate the patience of all impacted parties.”
The U.S. SailGP Team plans to fully utilize the potential 48-hour delay reviewing onboard cameras and tactical data to finetune maneuvers in time for racing this weekend.
For the first time in the U.S., SailGP racing will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network August 10 and 11 at 10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST, as well live as the SailGP APP, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. CLICK HERE for a list of ways to watch in specific markets.