Five issues for Great Britain SailGP

Published on July 15th, 2021

The Great Britain Sail Grand Prix on July 17-18 hosts SailGP’s eight national teams for the third event of Season 2 in Plymouth, UK.

Great Britain, the home team for this event, won the opening event of the campaign in Bermuda, with Nathan Outteridge’s Japan being claiming event 2 in Taranto, Italy. However, it is the consistency of Spain which tops the Season Championship leaderboard.

Here are five talking points for the upcoming event…

Hometown glory for Great Britain after disappointment in Taranto?
Champion of the opening event of Season 2 in Bermuda, Great Britain endured a more disappointing sixth-placed finish in Taranto last time out under interim Driver Paul Goodison. With primary skipper Ben Ainslie out on paternity leave, Goodison seeks an improved performance in front of the home fans to boost their second place position in the season leaderboard.

Spain hoping to extend Championship lead
Kiwi skipper Phil Robertson’s team, with a fourth and third in Bermuda and Italy respectively, will be questioning whether that standard will keep them at the top of the field, or if their outcome in Plymouth must be heightened to maintain control of the season.

United States to finally end unlucky streak?
It’s been a rather unfortunate start to life in SailGP for Jimmy Spithill.

The United States Driver, who signed on for Season 2, saw his team finish last on his debut event in Bermuda due to a collision with Japan which damaged both F50s so much they were pulled out the remainder of the event.

Things were looking much better in Taranto as the US qualified for the winner-takes-all Final, only for Spithill’s team to collide with an underwater object during said Final while the US was leading and set for victory.

Once again, damage to the F50 meant the US had to retire, and Spithill now enters his third SailGP event still hoping to see one through to completion.

Denmark hunting for form ahead of Aarhus event
When SailGP heads to Aarhus after the Great Britain event, the Danish home team hopes to have better form than it has shown so far this season. It’s still early in the season so far too soon to write the Danes off, but Nicolai Sehested and his teammates need to start moving up the table if they are to be in with a shot of winning silverware.

Replacement Drivers out to impress
Both Great Britain and New Zealand utilized interim Drivers during the Italy Sail Grand Prix, with Paul Goodison and Arnaud Psarofaghis skippering the teams respectively in place of Ben Ainslie and Peter Burling.

Psarofaghis fared the better of the two, winning Race 4 and ending the weekend fourth in the rankings, but neither truly excelled as they experienced the F50 for the first time.

But now having gained a full event’s worth of experience, both Goodison and Psarofaghis will hope to put in improved showings in Plymouth to ensure the Brits and Kiwis remain within touching distance of the top of the Season Championship leaderboard.

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

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Format for SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• 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
December 17-18, 2021 – Australia Grand Prix – Sydney
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.

Source: SailGP

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