USA on podium at Abu Dhabi SailGP

Published on January 14th, 2024

New Zealand did the double in the UAE to secure back-to-back victories after winning the 2024 Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix on January 13-14 in Abu Dhabi. Mastering the light conditions and the 29 meter wing, New Zealand beat Spain and the United States while overall leaders Australia missed out on its first event final of the season to finish seventh.

“We have been the ones who have just missed the final by a few points at previous events,” noted Burling. “Finally winning the last two has been fun but it has been very stressful racing – just battling it out in the middle of the fleet all day in these light wind conditions, it’s not easy.”

The new-look US team – with Taylor Canfield in the driving seat – had the low point score after the five qualifying races but was out-gunned in the finals by the more experienced New Zealand and Spain teams.

In the three-boat event final, the Kiwis had the strongest start, crossing the line first and leading round the first mark from Spain and the United States. With New Zealand in the lead, Spain and the US battled it out but Canfield decided to split from the fleet at the second mark in search of more wind – which left the Kiwis and the Spanish team neck and neck.

New Zealand continued the lead around Gate 3, with Spain and US arriving at the same time – although with Spain the right of way boat, Canfield was forced to go around outside them. New Zealand managed to extend its lead to take the win and claim the title of champions of the UAE – followed by Spain and finally the US.

“I think we are sailing the boat well and even if we are behind, we can come back in the races,” noted Canfield. “It’s very new for a lot of us, some in new positions or new to the boat, so I think there is much more to come. We are looking forward to it.”

The light winds both days had teams sailing with four crew, with the USA having Canfield on the helm alongside Victor Diaz de Leon (wing trim), Leo Takahashi (flight control), and Sara Stone (strategist/grinder).

The results from this weekend closes the gap between the Aussies – who still remain first overall on the leaderboard – ahead of New Zealand who have bumped their way up to second place – with only a six point gap between first and second. The Kiwis now hold the record for the most event wins across Season 4. A podium result for the US, sees them move up the leaderboard from fifth to third.

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Abu Dhabi Results
1. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-10-2-6-6-(1)
2. Spain (Diego Botin), 10-1-1-10-1-(2)
3. United States (Taylor Canfield), 9-2-3-4-3-(3)
4. France (Quintin Delapierre), 4-3-9-2-7
5. Germany (Erik Heil), 6-5-10-3-2
6. Canada (Phil Robertson), 3-6-5-7-5
7. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 2-9-6-1-9
8. Great Britain (Giles Scott), 7-7-7-5-4
9. Denmark (Nathan Outteridge), 5-4-8-8-8
10. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 8-8-4-9-10

• Switzerland SailGP Team penalized four points for making contact with Emirates Great Britain during practice racing
• Switzerland SailGP Team penalized four points for making contact with ROCKWOOL Denmark in Fleet Race 5
• ROCKWOOL Denmark penalized two points for making contact with Switzerland SailGP Team in Fleet Race 5

Season Standings (after seven of 13 events; results and total points)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 2-3-2-2-3-2-7; 56 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-7-8-DNC/6-4-1-1; 50
3. United States (Jimmy Spithill/Taylor Canfield), 9-5-5-3-1-8-3; 43
4. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 4-2-4-7-2-6-9; 43
5. Spain (Diego Botin), 5-1-3-6-6-10-2; 42
6. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie/Giles Scott), 7-6-1-1-8-5-8; 41
7. France (Quintin Delapierre), 6-8-6-4-7-4-4; 38
8. Canada (Phil Robertson), 3-4-10-5-5-3-6; 37
9. Germany (Erik Heil), 10-10-7-8-9-10-9-5; 16
10. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 8-9-9-9-7-10; 12

• 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
• Spain SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
• Switzerland SailGP Team: Docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council

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
March 23-24 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
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 for Abu Dhabi with the winning team now earning $200k at each event).
• 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: SailGP

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