American team climbs overall standings to threaten championship leaders
PLYMOUTH, UK – July 18, 2021 – The United States SailGP Team missed its first win of the season at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth today despite successfully qualifying for its second podium final race in three events, ultimately finishing third.
The sold-out crowd in Plymouth eagerly awaited the podium final, an all-or-nothing race between the top-three seeded teams at each SailGP event, that today put the Americans up against the Australian and French SailGP Teams.
A perfect start to the final race by the US team put them in a strong position to take advantage of a bad gybe by the Australians, with the Americans at one point growing a lead of over one hundred meters.
However, the stabilization provided by the team’s replacement F50 rudder – a critical component for flight control which was swapped out following the team’s collision with an underwater object in Italy and which had been problematic earlier in the day – deteriorated throughout the race, creating problems with control of the platform.
The rudder issue combined with near flawless performances by both the French and Australian teams allowed both teams to overtake the Americans, who were unable to defend, with the Australians ultimately claiming victory.
“Any time you get to race in the podium race it’s a great position to be in but, unfortunately for us, we had a bit of a technical issue with our starboard rudder that deteriorated throughout the day,” said US SailGP Team Driver Jimmy Spithill. “This was a good result for the team and let’s face it, we’ve had technical issues at each event so far and we’ve now climbed ourselves up to halfway in the field.”
Despite the disappointment of the final race, the team’s third place finish dramatically improves its position in the overall standings. The US team has jumped three positions into fourth-place overall, with only three points now separating the top four teams.
“In terms of the points spread, anyone can still take the season. That’s exciting for everyone involved,” continued Spithill. “The team is incredibly positive, we’re still learning all the time, and at the end of the day you want to set yourself up to win the last event in San Francisco - that’s the one that’s going to count.”
The upcoming ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus on August 20-21 will provide the next chance for the team to improve. The team will arrive early to help test SailGP’s new, eagerly anticipated 29-meter wing design which is expected to increase wind range performance of the F50 catamaran.
The US team next travels to Bristol, R.I., this week to kick off Foiling First, a new breakthrough athlete development program that looks to advance diversity and inclusion in American sailing while training the next generation of foiling athletes as part of SailGP’s #RacefortheFuture purpose-led agenda.
Those interested in learning more about Foiling First are invited to visit FoilingFirst.com.