Brits make move for SailGP Final

Published on May 6th, 2023

San Francisco, CA (May 6, 2023) – With a spot in the Championship Final Race on the line, Emirates Great Britain soared and France faltered in today’s three races on what could be a defining day in both team’s seasons.

As the final event of Season 3, with the scores being added to the overall leaderboard to determine the top three teams to face off in the $1 million, winner-take-all contest, this is no time to blink.

Sir Ben Ainslie won one fleet race and finished second in the other two to firmly put one foot in tomorrow’s three-boat final race of Season 3. In contrast it was a disappointing day for France driver Quentin Delapierre, who finished the day in eighth place and sits a daunting fifteen points behind Ainslie in the event standings.

Ainslie sailed aggressively in every pre-start to ensure he got the better of the France team, holding them back and rattling Delapierre to set the battle for the final alight.

Entering the the 11th and final event in third, France stands to fall behind the Brits on the season standings and drop out of the Championship Final Race for $1 million.

By no means to be forgotten, Tom Slingsby’s Australian team once again showed why it’s the one to beat, finishing the day with a 1-3-1. New Zealand sits in third place in the event standings and has all but guaranteed itself a spot in tomorrow’s final.

All the post race talk, however, was about a commanding performance from Emirates Great Britain.

“We are just really pleased with the way the team came together on a challenging day and hopefully we can do more of that tomorrow and get ourselves into that Championship Final Race – that’s the plan,” noted Ainslie. “For sure there’s a few little things we can work on but generally we’re really happy with the day.”

Emirates Great Britain strategist Hannah Mills added, “It was great, we really took it to the French in the starts and in the first two we managed to execute really well and get the start we wanted and then the last start they came for us and we had a good old battle and managed to get the better of them. It was a good day but there’s still a lot to do.”

France was left rueing its poor starts but Delapierre was remaining optimistic about his team’s chances.

“I think we just have to regroup and reset and take every opportunity for tomorrow and stay optimistic,” noted Delapierre. “It’s a special moment to get the final of SailGP and you have to just enjoy the sailing out there and do what we can to be on.”

Elsewhere Nicolai Sehested’s Denmark endured a happier day after a disappointing last event in New Zealand to sit fourth after day one, equal on points with the winners of that event, Phil Robertson’s Canada. Switzerland SailGP Team led by Sebastien Schneiter finished third in the day’s first race to improve its chances of avoiding last place in the Season 3 standings, while its rival for that position, Spain, finished the day in ninth.

It was a disappointing day on home waters for Jimmy Spithill’s United States team which failed to finish higher than fourth in any race and sits seventh after day one.

The Inspire WASZP Grand Final was also on San Francisco Bay with 19-year-old USA athlete Gavin Ball putting on a spectacular show, beating Duncan Gregor (GBR) and Hippolyte Gruet (FRA) to win the Championship of Champions.

17-year-old Stella Bilger from New Zealand was triumphant in the female division, overcoming fierce competition from Rachael Betschart (Bermuda) and Hedvig Dokstrød (Norway). Both Bilger and Ball will receive an immersive experience of joining their national SailGP teams in Season 4 and the opportunity to ride on an F50.

Inspire Racing x WASZP provides a stepping stone for under-21s to develop foiling skills and create a pathway to SailGP’s F50 catamarans.

Once racing in the San Francisco event is complete, the top three team in the overall Season 3 leaderboard will face off in the big money race. All competition tomorrow on San Francisco Bay is between 2:30pm-4:00pm PDT.

Current Results
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 1-3-1, 28 points
2. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 2-1-2, 28
3. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 4-7-3, 19
4. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 5-6-4, 18
5. Canada (Phil Robertson), 8-2-5, 18
6. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 3-5-9, 16
7. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 7-4-7, 15
8. France (Quintin Delapierre), 6-8-6, 13
9. Spain (Jordi Xammar/Diego Botin), 9-9-8, 7

SailGP informationSan Francisco detailsSeason 3 scoreboardYouTubeHow to watch

Season Three Standings (after 10 of 11 events)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 84 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 73 points
3. France (Quintin Delapierre), 69 points
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 68 points
5. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 60 points
6. Canada (Phil Robertson), 59 points
7. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 57 points
8. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 29 points
9. Spain (Jordi Xammar/Diego Botin), 29 points

• Spain SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Plymouth
• Switzerland SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Saint-Tropez
• United Stated SailGP Team: Docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at Saint-Tropez
• New Zealand SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Dubai; Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Singapore

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 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 18-19, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 18-19, 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: SailGP

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