HAMILTON, BERMUDA – April 25, 2021 – The United States SailGP Team were denied entry into the finals today at the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess after capsizing their F50 catamaran while evaluating damage from a preceding collision with the Japan SailGP Team.
Following the incident, all athletes were reported safe by both teams but the resulting aftermath forced helm Jimmy Spithill and the USA team to retire from racing for the day, forfeiting any chance at advancing through to the finals.
“We came into today in fourth place, with a real chance at the top three. That was our goal today,” said U.S. SailGP Team Helmsman Jimmy Spithill.
“Conditions were at the top end, we were on high speed boards and small wings. We were having a great race with the top three [teams] and as we were heading up the first beat, unfortunately Japan took us out of the race which was really disappointing.”
The U.S. SailGP Team had entered into the final day of racing only three points back from third place hoping to climb the leaderboard and advance to the finals – reserved for the top three teams.
Early in the first race, with wind speeds testing the upper thresholds of the F50 catamaran, the Japan SailGP Team – while attempting to cross in front of the USA team who had right-of-way – failed to keep clear causing a collision.
The ensuing aftermath caused significant damage to the U.S. SailGP Team’s F50, including damage to the hull and steering system of the advanced catamaran.
Despite a significant effort from both athletes and support team to nurse the boat to safety to evaluate the onboard systems, the steering system deteriorated further causing the rudder to break, resulting in a loss of control that contributed to the capsize of the team’s F50 forcing the team to retire.
Spithill continued: “What can you say? [Japan SailGP Team Helmsman] Nathan Outeridge and I are good friends, he came up and apologized. That’s how it goes, this is almost like auto racing now. At these fast speeds and decisions, if mistakes happen it can be out of your control. It’s just one of those things, we’re going to have to build on it. There’s no type of redress in this type of racing if you get taken out. That’s life, we’ll learn our lessons, and get ready for the next event.”
The U.S. SailGP Team has begun the process of evaluating the extent of damage to their F50 with team technicians having full expectations that it will be ready for racing in short order.
The team now looks to the next event of SailGP Season 2, the Italy Sail Grand Prix, Taranto, as their next chance to climb the leaderboard, June 5-6, 2021. For more information on the full Season 2 calendar as well as the United States SailGP Team, please visit SailGP.com or follow the team on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.