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Explosive rivalry set for racing showdown on iconic Sydney Harbor

16 DECEMBER 2021News
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  • United States

Spithill (USA) v. Slingsby (AUS) in penultimate event in SailGP’s Season 2 championship

SYDNEY, Dec. 16, 2021 – CEO and Driver Jimmy Spithill says the United States SailGP Team is prepared for the challenge this weekend at the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG in Sydney – the penultimate event before the Season 2 Grand Final in San Francisco – positioned only one point out of first place overall.

Just five points separate the top four positions on the overall leaderboard, currently led by local favorite, Australian Tom Slingsby. USA and Nathan Outteridge (Japan) sit one point behind, with Great Britain’s Sir Ben Ainslie just four points back. Only the top three teams at the end of season qualifying will receive a berth to the winner-take-all Grand Final in San Francisco.

While the American team began Season 2 in last place, their season to date has been nothing short of a comeback story, climbing steadily to the overall podium despite not winning a single SailGP event.

The fact the American team has yet to win an event does not faze Spithill. “For us it’s really been about getting back into this competition,” Spithill said. “It’s been a bit of a comeback just to climb up the leaderboard and try to post some consistent results.”

The team’s comeback began immediately after the Season 2 opener in Bermuda in April, when a collision and subsequent capsize landed the Americans in last place. Misfortune followed the team to Europe with hitting submerged objects, crew injuries and more collisions.

Despite the myriad of setbacks, the U.S. SailGP Team continued to overcome adversity and climb the leaderboard, narrowly missing event wins in France and Spain; something that Spithill credits to the team’s focus and tenacity.

“One thing we’ve learned throughout this season is no lead is guaranteed,” Spithill said. “Of course, we would love to win this event in Sydney, but looking towards San Francisco, consistency is the key,” Spithill said. “Honestly, we want to make the podium here, but I’d prefer it [the win] to be the last event in San Francisco.”

Announced earlier this week, Anna Weis will sail with the team in Sydney, fresh off her Olympic experience on the foiling Nacra 17. She will race on board the F50 in the sixth sailor position as part of SailGP’s Women’s Pathway Program designed to accelerate inclusion for female athletes within the sport and inspire change.

HOW TO WATCH:

Racing at the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG in Sydney starts both days at 4:00pm local time (12:00am EST) on Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18, and will air live in the USA on CBS Sports Network, SailGP’s YouTube channel as well as the SailGP APP. Visit SailGP.com/watch for full details.

Fans can also check out SailGP Insights, the new online dashboard that complements the live broadcast feed. With SailGP Insights powered by Oracle Cloud, fans can access in-depth information like the F50s ride height and ride time – key indicators of how well the F50s are being sailed – as well as the current boat speed, and live wind speed. Away from the specific boat data, fans will also be provided with alerts of key race incidents.

SailGP Insights powered by Oracle Cloud can be accessed at SailGPInsights.com.