It’s good to be the underdog
Published on October 17th, 2021
The United States SailGP Team was on the outside looking in through the inaugural season of SailGP, but they retooled during the pandemic and now have a real chance at winning the second season championship. Now led by two-time America’s Cup champion Jimmy Spithill, he offers this update after Spain Sail Grand Prix:
Capsizes, near-misses, insane starts – it was wet, wild and, man, just super exciting racing. When these foiling F50 boats are fully loaded at speeds close to 100kph, they are crazy machines to control. You’re literally racing on the edge – and a split second can flip everything.
It’s a fine line between risk and reward. You’re constantly in avoidance mode. The guys that pushed the hardest were fast, but the most important thing is keeping the boat – and the people – in one piece.
As a driver in SailGP, you have to put the hammer down and push the limits, but there are seven other boats out there doing exactly the same, so potential collisions are never far away. Especially with the adrenaline pumping, heaps of water coming over the cockpit, and the pressure on.
Of course, you want to win – but trust me, no-one is going to look back and remember who won individual regattas through the season. It’s all about that $1 million showdown in San Francisco – our home event – in March 2022, when we’ll see the SailGP Season 2 champions crowned.
In challenging conditions, if we keep doing what we’re doing, it will lead to success. There’s no magic, no shortcuts – just hard work, dedication, and a solid, never-say-die team ethic.
Male or female, all I ask from my sailors is that they are willing to put the team before themselves. We have a tight team – without that, we wouldn’t have been able to face up to the challenges we’ve faced this year, and still be in the position we are.
The Aussies are leading SailGP with two events left, and they’re the team to beat right now in the windy conditions. They deserved to win in Spain, and at this stage in the season, the leaderboard doesn’t lie.
But we are all breathing down their necks and the weight of pressure and expectation is on them to perform at home. They tend to either finish first or last this season. I’m sure they will get amazing support in Sydney… but trust me: it’s good to be the underdog.
Source: Excerpt from Red Bull
The Spain Sail Grand Prix completes the European leg of SailGP Season 2 with the circuit moving now to Sydney, Australia – home of Slingsby’s reigning champions – on December 17-18 for the penultimate event before the Race to San Francisco, set for March 2022.
Spain Final Results (Team, Helm)
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby
2. United States, Jimmy Spithill
3. Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
4. Japan, Nathan Outteridge
5. New Zealand, Peter Burling
6. Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
7. Spain, Phil Robertson
8. France, Quentin Delapierre
SailGP Season Championship (after 6 events)
1. Australia, 45 pts
2. United States, 44 pts
3. Japan, 44 pts
4. Great Britain, 40 pts
5. New Zealand, 36 pts
6. Spain, 35 pts
7. Denmark, 33 pts
8. France, 31 pts
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 (CANCELLED)
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, Quentin Delapierre
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.