Spithill, Campbell-James, and Kirby shine in tricky, tactical conditions
TARANTO, ITALY – June 5, 2021 – The United States SailGP Team came out swinging at the Italy Sail Grand Prix, winning two out of three fleet races on the day, placing them at the top of the standings heading into the final day of racing tomorrow.
The dominant performance puts the team in strong contention to qualify for the Italy Sail Grand Prix Final tomorrow when the top three teams go head-to-head in the last race of the event.
Due to light winds on the Taranto racecourse, teams raced with only three positions onboard – driver, wing trimmer, and flight controller – for the first time in SailGP history.
“Racing today really highlighted the depth of talent on our team,” said U.S. SailGP Team Driver Jimmy Spithill. “Sure, I was driving and trimmed the foils through some of the maneuvers, but full credit goes to Paul [Campbell-James] and Rome [Kirby]. Rome was, at times, doing three jobs at once.”
The team found its success early in the day, minimizing maneuvers to force a three-way battle at the final gate with Japan and New Zealand where a gutsy call by Kirby saw the team thread the needle between the two teams, dramatically squeezing past to their first race win of the season.
After a fourth-place finish in the second race, Spithill then roared back, winning the start of the third race and extending their lead the rest of the race, skillfully executing maneuvers to maximize their flight time in the tricky conditions.
“Today we wanted to stay clean and keep away from the pack behind us,” said Spithill. “Our plan is to debrief and review the footage tonight and keep pressing tomorrow.”
Though ahead on count-back, the U.S. team sits even with the Japan SailGP Team at 21 points and will look to defend their position tomorrow when racing resumes.
The final day of the Italy Sail Grand Prix will air on CBS Sports Network tomorrow, Sunday, June 6 at 4:00pm ET with highlights airing June 13 on CBS at 2:00pm ET. For live coverage starting at 7:30am ET, be sure to watch on the SailGP APP, Facebook, and YouTube channels.