Crash, capsize end event for US SailGP Team

Published on April 25th, 2021

Hamilton, Bermuda (April 25, 2021) – The United States SailGP Team were denied entry into the finals today at the opening event of the SailGP Season 2 after capsizing their F50 catamaran while evaluating damage from a preceding collision with the Japan SailGP Team.

Following the incident, in which the Japanese teams tacked late and collided with the USA team which was on starboard, the resulting damage forced Helmsman Jimmy Spithill and the USA team to retire from racing for the day, forfeiting any chance at advancing through to the finals.

“We came into today in fourth place, with a real chance at the top three. That was our goal today,” said U.S. SailGP Team Helmsman Jimmy Spithill, in which the top three from the five fleet races advance to the winner take all final race.

“Conditions were at the top end, we were on high speed boards and small wings. We were having a great race with the top three, and as we were heading up the first beat, unfortunately Japan took us out of the race which was really disappointing.”

The U.S. SailGP Team had entered into the final day of racing only three points back from third place hoping to climb the leaderboard and advance to the finals.

The collision caused significant damage to the U.S. SailGP Team’s F50, including damage to the hull and steering system.

While the team sought to nurse the boat to safety to evaluate the onboard systems, the steering system deteriorated further causing the rudder to break, resulting in a loss of control that contributed to the capsize of the team’s F50 forcing the team to retire.

“What can you say? (Japan SailGP Team Helmsman) Nathan Outteridge and I are good friends, he came up and apologized,” noted Spithill. “That’s how it goes, this is almost like auto racing now.

“At these fast speeds and decisions, if mistakes happen it can be out of your control. It’s just one of those things, we’re going to have to build on it. There’s no type of redress in this type of racing if you get taken out. That’s life, we’ll learn our lessons, and get ready for the next event.”

The U.S. SailGP Team has begun the process of evaluating the extent of damage to their F50 with team technicians having full expectations that it will be ready for racing in short order.


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Format for SailGP events:
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.

SailGP Season 2 Schedule*
April 24-25, 2021 – Bermuda Grand Prix
June 5-6, 2021 – Italy Grand Prix – Taranto
July 17-18, 2021 – Great Britain Grand Prix – Plymouth
August 20-21, 2021 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Grand Prix – Aarhus
September 11-12, 2021 – France Grand Prix – Saint-Tropez
October 9-10, 2021 – Spain Grand Prix – Andalusia
January 29-30, 2022 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Christchurch
March 26-27, 2022 – United States Grand Prix – San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)
*Subject to change

2021-22 Teams
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
Spain, Jordi Xammar/ Phil Robertson*
United States, Jimmy Spithill
*Season 1 skipper Phil Robertson (NZL) will helm in an interim capacity while Jordi Xammar prepares for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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.

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