US SailGP Team want more in 2020
Published on February 27th, 2020
For the United States SailGP Team, the past five months of training, playbook development, and team building will be put to the test as SailGP’s Season 2 kicks off in Australia for Sydney SailGP on February 28-29.
With a tight course on Sydney Harbour, the Americans will line up against Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, and Spain to begin their quest for the $1 million prize.
After the USA team stumbled at the end of the 2019 season, they want more this year.
“I’m ready for action,” said Helmsman Rome Kirby. “We’ve put so much effort over these past five months to prepare for this moment, and now it is time to go out, sail hard and finish races.”
Kirby, age 30 of Newport, RI, and his teammates, Wing Trimmer and newly named Olympian Riley Gibbs (24; Long Beach, CA), Flight Controller Taylor Canfield (30; St. Thomas, USVI), Hans Henken (26; Coronado, CA), Peter Kinney (29; Newport Beach, CA), and Ben Bardwell (41; Brownsville, VT), have spent six productive days training on Sydney Harbour the past two weeks.
“We’ve maximized every moment on the water here in Sydney,” said Kirby. “It’s been great to have as much time training here as we’ve had. It’s meant we can try new ideas for everything from rudder averages to how we can make our maneuvers most efficient. Add to that two days of side-by-side testing with Ben Ainslie and the Great Britain SailGP Team and we can’t wait for that first race.”
Besides new sailing team members, key additions during the off-season included hiring seasoned America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winner Kimo Worthington as general manager, and Joe Glanfield, former coach of the Great Britain SailGP Team.
Glanfield is pleased with how well the American squad has come together to form a tight-knit team, on and off the water.
“This is a very talented, very hungry group,” said Glanfield. “I’m really pleased with how everyone’s off-season dedication gave us a jumpstart when we hit the water here. We’ve made the most of our extended training time in Sydney, creatively thinking as a group how we can open up the racecourse against the other teams. We are ready.”
Beyond the team’s training time, Glanfield also credits the availability of the open-source Oracle Cloud data for their ability to fine-tune rudder settings on their F50, The Eagle. The rudder rake and differential settings optimize how the rudders slice through the water with minimum drag, translating into additional horsepower during maneuvers.
“These are especially critical markers for us to improve performance across the myriad of wind conditions that we expect to see this weekend on Sydney Harbour,” Glanfield said.
Source: Laura Muma/United States SailGP
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
Spain, Jordi Xammar/ Phil Robertson*
United States, Rome Kirby
* Xammar will helm with Season 1 skipper Phil Robertson (NZL) serving in an interim capacity. Details.
Sydney, AUS (February 28-29)
San Francisco, USA (May 2-3)
New York, USA (June 12-13)
Cowes, GBR (August 14-15)
Copenhagen, DEN (September 11-12)
** A sixth event may be added to the calendar at a later date.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans with the season culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.
Season 1 – 2019 Schedule
Sydney, Australia (February 15-16)
San Francisco, USA (May 4-5)
New York, USA (June 21-22)
Cowes, UK (August 10-11)
Marseille, France (September 20-22)
SailGP Season 1 Overall Leaderboard
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby, 229
2. Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 223
3. China, Phil Robertson, 171
4. Great Britain, Dylan Fletcher, 169
5. France, Billy Besson, 164
6. United States, Rome Kirby, 163
Note: Total points based on SailGP scoring.