Finding the positive for US SailGP Team

Published on December 10th, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The anticipated conditions for the Dubai Sail Grand Prix event on December 9-10 were said to be ideal for less-experienced teams. This had mostly to do with the flat water, which is easier for foiling boats, and would offer a soft landing for the newly rebuilt United States SailGP Team.

When you have a helm that had never helmed an F50 (Taylor Canfield), a wing trimmer that had never trimmed a wing (Victor Diaz de Leon), a flight controller that had never flight controlled (Mac Agnese), and a strategist that was new to the F50 (Sara Stone), easier is good.

The new ownership group for the US team had brought in a fresh line-up, though retained grinders Alex Sinclair and Peter Kinney. While the absence of Australian Jimmy Spithill (helm) and Brit Paul Campbell James (wing trimmer) is hard to replace, those two also were not Americans, and it is a focus of the new regime to change that.

How did it go? Probably as well as expected, finishing 8th out of ten teams. The conditions were lighter than ideal, which put the team in situations they hadn’t practiced much for, like sailing with reduced crew or managing the largest 29m wing. But there were some highlights too.

Races are won with good starts, and the US team had their share of good starts. Problem was they would slip back in the fleet through inexperience elsewhere, but they did put it all together in the final race to finish third. They even flexed their muscles on that start, closing the door on a barging British team which led to their disqualification.

“It’s so energizing to finish our first event as a team with a third place in that final race,” said Canfield. “I’m proud of our entire team. We’ve come a long way in a very short period of time. We have more work to do, but this weekend showed we have the ability to compete at the top of the fleet.”

Overall, the USA beat Spain, which won the Los Angeles event, and the Germans which joined the league for the fourth season which started in June 2023.

Added new coach Mark Ivey, “This is great momentum for the new team as it is already looking ahead to Abu Dhabi in one month’s time. We have more work to do around on-board communication, timing, and of course execution, but it feels great to leave Dubai on a positive note.”

SailGP informationDubai detailsYouTubeHow to watch

Dubai Final Results
1. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 6-2-4-2-4-(1), 37 points
2. Australia (Jimmy Spithill), 3-1-3-4-8-(2), 36
3. Canada (Phil Robertson), 1-3-8-7-1-(3), 35
4. France (Quintin Delapierre), 2-4-7-5-2, 35
5. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 5-7-1-1-10, 30
6. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 4-5-10-3-5, 28
7. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 7-6-6-6-6, 24
8. United States (Taylor Canfield), 8-9-9-9-3, 17
9. Germany (Erik Heil), 9-10-5-8-7, 15
10. Spain (Diego Botin), 19-8-2-10-9, 15

Season Standings (after six of 13 events; results and total points)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby/Jimmy Spithill), 2-3-2-2-3-2; 52 points
2. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 4-2-4-7-2-6; 41
3. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-7-8-DNC/6-4-1; 40
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 7-6-1-1-8-5; 38
5. United States (Jimmy Spithill/Taylor Canfield), 9-5-5-3-1-8; 35
6. Spain (Diego Botin), 5-1-3-6-6-10; 33
7. Canada (Phil Robertson), 3-4-10-5-5-3; 32
8. France (Quintin Delapierre), 6-8-6-4-7-4; 31
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 8-9-9-9-7; 15
10. Germany (Erik Heil), 10-10-7-8-9-10-9; 10
• Canada SailGP Team: Docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
• Germany SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix
• New Zealand SailGP Team: Granted six event points for Italy Sail Grand Prix as unable to compete due to wing damage suffered at France Sail Grand Prix.

Season 4 – 2023
June 16-17 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 22-23 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Los Angeles
September 9-10 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 23-24 – Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto
October 14-15 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía- Cádiz
December 9-10 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix | Dubai*

Season 4 – 2024
January 13-14 – Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix | Abu Dhabi
February 24-25 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 23-24 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Auckland
May 4-5 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix
June 1-2 – Canada Sail Grand Prix | Halifax
June 22-23 – United States Sail Grand Prix | New York
July 13-14 – SailGP Season 4 Grand Final | San Francisco
* Added October 3, 2023

Format for Season 4:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• Up to seven qualifying fleet races of approximately 15 minutes may be scheduled for each regatta.
• The top three teams from qualifying advance to a final race to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000.00 USD event prize money purse (increases to $400k after Abu Dhabi) that’s divided among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race for the top three teams in the season standing with the winner claiming the $2 million USD prize.
• The top team on points ahead of the three-boat Championship Final will be awarded $350,000.00.

For competition documents, click here.

Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing among national teams in some of the iconic harbors around the globe.

Source: USSailGP

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