SailGP: On the edge of chaos
Published on May 12th, 2022
Jimmy Spithill is doubling down after the United States SailGP Team narrowly missed out on the Season 2 championship crown this past March, and is bringing new ammunition for the Season 3 opener, the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess.
“When Rome [Kirby] injured his shoulder during a nosedive in training before the Grand Final in San Francisco, it was a major wake up call for me,” Spithill said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh wow, if Rome’s out of action, then we are in big trouble.’ We didn’t have the roster depth to swap someone out who has experience in the flight controller position.”
Enter two new additions to the team’s Bermuda roster: US Sailing Team members Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.) as flight controller, and Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.), trialing as a grinder. Both enter with big resumes from the US Sailing Team with Henken having competed in SailGP back in 2019 and Muller recently racing the Finn in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“With the extra training days here in Bermuda, it’s crucial we invest the time to train and add talent to our roster,” Spithill said. “We need to approach this like any other professional sports team that operates in a high-impact sport.
“Both athletes have fit into the team very well, you can see why they have been successful in outside racing; they have great team attitudes and work ethics, and it’s impressive how quickly they have picked it up.”
Henken and Muller join the established U.S. SailGP Team in Bermuda which includes Spithill, Paul Campbell-James, Andrew Campbell, Cooper Dressler, Alex Sinclair, and CJ Perez.
Energy drink Red Bull is rooted in the extreme sports sector, from cliff diving to BMXing, skiing, flying, skateboarding… and sailing with the U.S. SailGP Team. Here’s the Red Bull view of the global sports league:
• SailGP is different from other global sailing series as the F50 catamarans fly above the water at speeds approaching 54 knots with the athletes onboard just a split-second away from it all going wrong.
• The sailors perform on the edge of chaos and – when the boat is fully-loaded – it generates incredible G-force, hitting around 3Gs as the boat turns at speed which is the same as an astronaut experiences during a rocket launch and enough to deprive an untrained adult brain of oxygen.
• Last season was full of drama thanks to smashed up boats, capsizes and unidentified floating objects with the United States SailGP Team initially looking to avoid the Bermuda turmoil from last time out when they were completely wiped out by the Japan boat to finish in last place.
• They will also be hoping that there will be no replication of the underwater object that cost them victory in Italy and capsize in front of the Golden Gate Bridge during training for the Grand Final.
• Success and failure is a thin line in SailGP competition with the risk of sailing the catamaran higher for faster speeds also putting it in more danger of a nosedive that could end their race.
Racing takes place May 14-15 in Bermuda’s Great Sound with live viewing via SailGP YouTube or the APP at 1:00pm ET or on CBS Sports (in USA) tape delayed at 4:30pm ET both days.
SailGP information – Bermuda details – Season 3 scoreboard – Facebook – How to watch
2022-23 SailGP Season 3 Schedule*
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31, 2022 – Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 18-19, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 9-10, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 23-24, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 11-12, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
March 17-18, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)
*One further event is expected to be announced to complete SailGP Season 3.
2022-23 Teams, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Canada, Phil Robertson
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
Spain, Jordi Xammar
Switzerland, Sébastien Schneiter
United States, Jimmy Spithill
Format for 2022-23 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 and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize money to be split among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
For competition documents, click here.
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 for event prize money as the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.