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U.S. SailGP Team on the comeback trail

Published on December 16th, 2021

As the seventh and penultimate event on the global championship calendar, the SailGP racing league returns to iconic Sydney Harbour on December 17-18 for the 2021 Australia Sail Grand.

With eight teams in the identical, foiling F50 catamarans, Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team seeks to hold off two-time America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill’s United States team and Olympic gold medalist Nathan Outteridge’s Japan team that sit just one point off the lead.

While the American team began Season 2 in last place, their season to date has been nothing short of a comeback story, climbing steadily to the overall podium despite not winning a single SailGP event.

The fact the American team has yet to win an event does not faze Spithill. “For us it’s really been about getting back into this competition,” Spithill said. “It’s been a bit of a comeback just to climb up the leaderboard and try to post some consistent results.”

The team’s comeback began immediately after the Season 2 opener in Bermuda in April, when a collision and subsequent capsize landed the Americans in last place. Misfortune followed the team to Europe with hitting submerged objects, crew injuries and more collisions.

Despite the myriad of setbacks, the U.S. SailGP Team continued to overcome adversity and climb the leaderboard, narrowly missing event wins in France and Spain; something that Spithill credits to the team’s focus and tenacity.

“One thing we’ve learned throughout this season is no lead is guaranteed,” Spithill said. “Of course, we would love to win this event in Sydney, but looking towards San Francisco, consistency is the key. Honestly, we want to make the podium here, but I’d prefer it (the win) to be the last event in San Francisco.”

Sydney will also see the continuation of the Women’s Pathway Program, which saw athletes onboard the F50 during racing for the first time at the previous event in Spain. Anna Weis will sail with the U.S. team in Sydney, fresh off her Olympic experience on the foiling Nacra 17.

The Australia Sail Grand Prix will also be the first opportunity for fans to experience SailGP Insights, a new data platform powered by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The new online dashboard will complement SailGP’s broadcast partners’ coverage, enabling fans to access in-depth information while watching the live event feed.

Racing starts both days at 4:00pm local time (12:00am EST) on Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18, and will air live in the USA on CBS Sports Network, SailGP’s YouTube channel as well as the SailGP APP.

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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.

Source: SailGP

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