Americans Claim Third Overall Heading to $1 Million Final at Marseille SailGP
Overcoming a Race One capsize in extremely tough conditions at Cowes SailGP, the U.S. SailGP Team hung tough despite significant wing damage, to return for Races 2 and 3, moving the Americans into third place overall in the SailGP Championship standings. The SailGP fleet now looks ahead to September’s Marseille SailGP Finals to vie for the $1 million prize.
In a dramatic day on The Solent, the challenging sea state and near gale-force winds drew first blood from the Americans, who capsized right after the first turning mark in Race One. Three boats nosedived, but the Americans caught the worst of it as their F50 catamaran slowly tipped over.
“It was eventful to say the least,” said Rome Kirby, U.S. SailGP Team Helmsman. “I haven’t really had time to digest it yet but coming around the first reach mark we got a little high and then planted it; there’s nothing you can do in that situation.”
While the Statute of Liberty-adorned F50 returned upright and joined the remaining fleet for Races Two and Three to salvage critical race points, the boat suffered significant damage according to Kirby.
“The boat definitely wasn’t going well after the capsize,” he said. “We didn’t have any wind gear, the hydraulics and the electronics were pretty rough, and our wingsail is literally in tatters so we could barely go upwind. But we got around the track.”
Adding to the overall drama, the U.S. Team’s closest rival Great Britain, which coming into Cowes SailGP held a one-point lead over the Americans, suffered damage to its crew and boat in Race One and withdrew from the rest of the day’s races.
The tenacity of the U.S. Team to return to racing paid off. Currently, the U.S. Team now sits in third place overall, three points ahead of Great Britain.
Looking ahead to the season finale in Marseille, Kirby said they are ready for the fight for the podium. “It’s going to come down to Marseille and who’s going to sail better there,” he said. “We are looking forward to it.”