Japan SailGP wins in Taranto
Published on June 6th, 2021
Taranto, Italy (June 6, 2021) – Nathan Outteridge’s Japan SailGP Team reigned supreme at the Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto with a massive win in the final podium race to secure a home victory for Italian sailor Francesco Bruni. Spain finished in second place in front of Jimmy Spithill’s U.S team to move to the top of the SailGP Championship leaderboard following the opening two events of the season.
Overcoming disappointment in Bermuda, Outteridge drove his team straight into the weekend’s podium race with bold ambition. After an intense battle with Phil Robertson’s Spanish team and an on form U.S. team – the latter being forced to pull out of the final race after breaking their rudder – Japan claimed the win at the first ever Italy Sail Grand Prix.
“Extremely tough way to end it,” said U.S. SailGP Team Driver Jimmy Spithill. “We were really sailing a perfect race and all we had to do was round the mark and head to the finish. Now I know how a Formula 1 driver feels when you have two corners to go and you have an engine fail.”
The object was not identified but hit with enough impact to break the top of the F50’s carbon fiber wing-tipped rudder as the team raced towards the final bottom mark of the course.
Outteridge was pleased to overcome their poor result for the first event in Bermuda. “We sailed really well all the time here and it’s just been fantastic to have Francesco onboard – not just on the boat but the chase boat as well helping us with coaching – so to deliver a home win for him is just fantastic.
“I heard that we’re now up to third overall and you wouldn’t have thought that would be the case after the event in Bermuda. We’ve only done two events this year so there’s plenty more to come. We’re really happy with the performance and are looking to improve even more for the next event.”
Downsizing the crew between the fleet races and the final podium race to three athletes due to the light winds meant Japan team flight controller Bruni would be repositioned onto the chase boat, but the epic win in Bruni’s home country in front of cheering crowds was a fairytale ending to an incredible weekend.
“We are super happy, it couldn’t get any better!” said Bruni. “We deserved some luck in the last race. I think we all sailed very well during the week, especially Nathan, Chris [Draper], and Tim [Morishima]. It’s really a prize for how good we sailed all week.
“It’s been unbelievable to see so many people on the water, and along the shore watching and cheering, especially for us, for me, and for the whole event. It’s been a great success.”
The Japan team now sit third on the season championship leaderboard with 14 points, with fellow finalists Spain moving into first place. Great Britain, winners of the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix, are in second place despite a disappointing sixth-placed finish in Taranto under interim driver Paul Goodison.
The two qualifying races held today were won by New Zealand and Japan respectively – the debut race win for Season 2 newcomers New Zealand with Arnaud Psarofaghis in the driving seat for the first time, while Peter Burling and Blair Tuke embark on defending their Olympic title.
Rounding out the event standings were New Zealand in fourth, Denmark in fifth, Great Britain in sixth, France – who made the podium in Bermuda – placed seventh, and Australia taking eighth spot.
Racing was held June 5-6 with the next event moving to the United Kingdom on July 17-18.
1. Japan, 35 points
2. Spain, 29
3. United States, 23
4. New Zealand, 21
5. Denmark, 20
6. Great Britain, 19
7. France, 17
8. Australia, 16
SailGP Season Championship (after 2 events)
1. Spain, 16 points
2. Great Britain, 15
3. Japan, 14
4. New Zealand, 13
5. France, 12
6. Australia, 12
7. United States, 11
8. Denmark, 11
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, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie (alternate – Paul Goodison)
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling (alternate – Arnaud Psarofaghis)
Spain, Jordi Xammar (alternate – Phil Robertson)
United States, Jimmy Spithill
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.