Step back to forward >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

After taking over the United States SailGP team for Season 2, CEO and racer Jimmy Spithill took them from the basement to grand prix reach. But Spithill thought the team needed to take another step forward, a step back might be needed as it shares in this report following the Season 3 opening event in Bermuda:

It was great to be back on the island, which is a second home for many of us after racing the America’s Cup here a few years ago. This Bermuda Sailing Grand Prix was the first time we have returned to a venue since joining SailGP – and it marks a real evolution for the USA SailGP team.

We’ve added some new faces and have a brand new shore crew. Much like a pit team in F1, these guys keep us going, and the importance of having the right setup cannot be overstated – it’s the foundation of everything we do as a team, they’re the first to arrive and the last to leave and do whatever it takes to give us a chance to win.

When leading a group in a competition as tough and demanding as SailGP, depth of talent is paramount. We have more events this season than ever, and we’ve seen that injuries, drama and mistakes can happen.

Bringing new people into a tight-knit team can be tricky, especially when you’ve been through a lot together: wrecked boats, broken bones, ups and downs. When you take those kinds of punches, it builds strength through adversity and a close mentality.

It’s a time investment, and I just thought now was the right opportunity to add to the list, given that Bermuda is the only event that allows for a few extra days of training. Fortunately, we have very good people in the United States SailGP team and a great culture where everyone is ready to work and understand that there is going to be a learning process.

Of course, anytime you bring in someone new, you have to get the reps involved. But the most important thing is to involve these representatives during the race. It’s only when you’re in the heat of the moment, with eight other boats around you, pushing hard, that you really learn a lot.

We added Hans Henken to our ranks as flight controller, and I was so impressed with how he adapted. His background is impressive – he graduated in aeronautical and aerospace engineering – but rather than building rockets, he decided to pilot boats in SailGP.

F50 catamarans are complicated machines and having a real knowledge of what the foil does, and understanding the physics and science of it all, can only help.

When you run, it’s instinctive – you’re in the moment – but you can absolutely guarantee that every night Hans dives into the numbers to take the lead.

Former Olympian and AC sailor Luke Muller also joined us and, like Hans, immediately integrated into the group. This gives us confidence for the future on the list and we will not hesitate to bring him on.

We also had a new face behind the wheel this week. CJ Perez is one of our female athletes – she is a real talent for the future, with great instincts and has really stepped up her role on the boat during the races. It’s amazing to think that she’s only 18; I always forget how young she is…maybe I just forget my age!

We’re lucky to have three great female athletes on our team – CJ, Daniela Moroz and Anna Weis – and they all have totally different skill sets. SailGP is really leading the way when it comes to giving these amazing female athletes an opportunity, and I think the future of this sport is really exciting.

My old friend Tom Slingsby and his Australia SailGP team took victory again in Bermuda – and, at times, they seem unstoppable there. A special note to Tash Bryant who is competing in her first event with the Aussies – what a way to start!

I think they are the perfect example of the importance of the hours spent on these boats, and it is no coincidence that they spend more time racing together than anyone else on the circuit . But more importantly, in the F50.

When the breeze picks up, it’s the reference team, so we watch them and try to reach their level. That said, I see some vulnerabilities that we can take advantage of this season. They are weaker in light conditions, and as we saw in Season 2 and recently in Bermuda: when the wind is light, either team can win.

Next up is a big homecoming for us: the United States Sail Grand Prix Chicago at Navy Pier on June 18-19. I’ve raced in Chicago before, and it’s going to be an amazing event – ​​if the breeze picks up and we have good weather, we’ll see huge crowds cheering us on.

The people of Chicago are just crazy about sports, and there are some real iconic sports franchises there. It’s up to us to show off, fly the flag and make SailGP headline news next month.

Final ranking*
1. Australia, 4-5-3-4-1 (1)
2. Great Britain, 1-8-1-5-4 (2)
3. Canada, 2-1-5-7-5 (3)
4. Denmark, 5-9-4-3-3
5. United States, 3-7-7-6-2
6. New Zealand, 7-3-8-1-7
7. Spain, 6-4-9-2-9
8. France, 9-2-2-9-8
9. Switzerland, 8-6-6-8-6

*The Japan SailGP team will be absent from the first events of the season due to a series of external factors which mean that only nine F50s are available for the start of Season 3.

Sail GP InformationBermuda DetailsSeason 3 DashboardFacebookHow to watch

2022-23 SailGP Season 3 Schedule*
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sailing Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sailing Grand Prix | Chicago to Navy Pier
30-31 July 2022 – British Sailing Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 18-19, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Danish Sailing Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 9-10, 2022 – French Sailing Grand Prix | Saint Tropez
September 23-24, 2022 – Spanish Sailing Grand Prix | Andalusia – Cadiz
November 11-12, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sailing Grand Prix
17-18 March 2023 – New Zealand Sailing Grand Prix | christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sailing Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Finale)
*Another event should be announced to end SailGP Season 3.

2022-23 teams, bar
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Canada, Phil Robertson
Denmark, Nicolaï Sehested
France Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
Spain, Jordi Xammar
Switzerland, Sebastien Schneiter
United States, Jimmy Spithill

Format of SailGP 2022-23 events:
• The teams compete on identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event takes place over two days.
• There are three races each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The first five fleet races involve all teams.
• The final race will pit the top three ranked teams against each other to be crowned event champions and win the biggest share of the $300,000 prize pool to be split among the top three teams.
• The season concludes with the Grand Finals, which includes the Final Championship Race – a match-based race where the winner takes it all for the $1 million prize.

For competition files, Click here.

Founded in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the world’s iconic ports. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans for prize money as the season ends in a $1 million match race.

Source: Sail GP

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