Jimmy Spithill: In his words…

Published on November 17th, 2022

United States SailGP team skipper Jimmy Spithill takes the positives from some memorable racing in Dubai and reflects on the team’s evolution in 2022.

We just finished up some epic racing at the Dubai Sail Grand Prix and ticked off a couple of firsts in the process. The event was the first time that SailGP has visited the Middle East, and we also made history by racing on such a compact and tight course, so close to shore.

In SailGP, the best teams are thinking two or three moves ahead, and that’s even more important on a tighter course. To be honest, that’s where we struggled this weekend, especially the final day; I feel we were getting too caught up in the boats around us, and not anticipating enough.

Going into the final race of qualifying on Sunday, we were in position to make the podium after the first lap, but unfortunately didn’t sail well enough and allowed key teams to pass us, and ultimately finished sixth overall.

You only have a split second to make these decisions and if you’re slow, or indecisive, there are eight other teams who will punish you. Despite that, we only finished two points off the podium places, so we should take the positives that even our bottom level can keep us in the mix for the top spots. I’ve gotta say though, hats off to the Aussies on taking the victory against the odds in an exciting final race. They proved they are still the benchmark team.

It’s been a while since I raced in Dubai, but man, the conditions were fantastic – especially Sunday, breeze-on and flat water, it was pitch perfect. And what an awesome fan experience to have the bottom mark right in front of the shore, 10 meters from land. You couldn’t be much closer to the boats without driving them yourself!

I think the fact we could even race in a venue like that has probably opened a few eyes across the sporting world, as plenty of people were questioning whether nine F50s could actually fit. In the end, we proved that it’s possible, and no doubt that opens up venues that may have previously been put off the table.

It was very cool to hang out with Omeir Saeed, the Emirati wakeboarding pro, in the lead-up to the event. In case you missed it, he came out foiling alongside our F50, and the footage is pretty epic!

One of the best things about being part of a global circuit like SailGP is that we get to connect to these high-level athletes as we go around the planet. Whether it’s Kai Lenny, Jamie O’Brien or any of the others, they all bring insane talent and incredible energy and passion to the table, and it’s something that excites a lot of the other teams in SailGP too, as we all look up to these world-class athletes.

But most importantly, they bring new eyeballs and credibility to our sport. When they endorse it and say how cool it is, people take note. That’s a huge priority for us, and so we were blown away when we heard the numbers for SailGP on our last two broadcasts in the US on CBS both drew in more than 1.6m viewers each!

That out-ranks F1 on ESPN, Premier League soccer and a host of other sports that are televised in the US. This really got the attention of key players in the sports and entertainment world, so it’s very exciting.

SailGP also just announced its first-ever fan-owned DAO team. It will put the fans right in the heart of the action, with the ability to make decisions on how the team runs. Again, SailGP is paving the way in the sporting world with this announcement and it will be fascinating to see how this evolves.

With our last SailGP event of the year, I’ve been reflecting on 2022. The objective was to create depth on the roster and bring some new team members through – and I think in that regard, we have made a great start. With 14 events being planned for Season 4, I believe this will be critical heading into 2023.

I was asked in Dubai what my take-away is for this year, and it’s that there really is no shortcut. Any good investment takes time, and I think we’ve made some big steps already. We’re certainly in much better shape than at the end of Season 2 and I’m excited about the future.

I can tell you with four events left; it’s far from over. Anything can happen, so we just have to keep our heads down and put the work in and stay clear of the carnage, keep fighting, and climbing up the board.

SailGP’s global championship continues to conquer new frontiers with the first ever Singapore Sail Grand Prix the next event on January 14 and 15, 2023.

SailGP informationDubai detailsSeason 3 scoreboardYouTubeHow to watch

Season Three Standings (after seven of 11 events)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 60 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 51 points
3. France (Quintin Delapierre), 50 points
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 48 points
5. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 42 points
6. Canada (Phil Robertson), 40 points
7. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 39 points
8. Spain (Jordi Xammar), 22 points
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 16 points

*United States penalized 4 season points for incident with France
*Switzerland penalized 2 season points for incident with United States
*New Zealand penalized 2 season points for incident with Switzerland

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 19-20, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 10-11, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 24-25, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 12-13, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 13-14, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 17-18, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
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)

Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three qualifying races each day for all nine teams.*
• The top three teams from qualifying advance to a final race 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.
* Qualifying schedule increased from five to six races at France SailGP.

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.

Source: Redbull.com

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