Dubai SailGP – Day 1 Wrap

The Dubai SailGP got underway on Saturday 12 November, throwing out challenging conditions for all nine teams. The breeze was significantly less than forecast, with much of the racing seeing boats forced into “H1” displacement mode. 

All skippers and sailors reported that the boats that were able to clear themselves from the pack at the start had a much easier time of the racing, which was heated in regards to the challenging nature of the wind conditions, as well as the searing Dubai temperatures.

For full results see here.

The first race was dominated by the Canadian team, with driver Phil Robinson first around mark one, steering his team to a lead of over a minute at the finish. The dropping breeze saw the seven leg race determined on time, with boats after fourth placed New Zealand taking their place from their position at the final mark rounding.

Phil Robertson interview: 

Race two got underway with teams jostling for position in the pre-start, Switzerland pushing Australia out and sending them again to the back of the pack. It was New Zealand and Great Britain who led around the first mark, where they would stay for the length of the race. Canada received a boundary penalty on the second leg, hampering their chances of backing up their dominant first race.

The breeze continued to drop and the race length was shortened in response as the teams fought for any advantage on the tricky course. Great Britain picked the breeze on the final leg to get on the foils and make significant gains, eventually overtaking the New Zealand team before their final manoeuvre. With both in full displacement mode, GBR took the win. 

Hannah Diamond: 

Race three saw teams drop to four on board, with the effect seen in the lively pre-start as Jimmy Spithill’s Team USA got flying and controlled the first part of the race. Canada received another penalty for not keeping clear, and Australia’s tough day continued being penalised for not keeping clear of the recovering Canada.

Tom Slingsby:

Great Britain again had a strong final leg as the race was shortened to only four legs, edging out USA to take their second win and be a clear boat of the day.

Jimmy Spithill:

Erika Reineke:

The event leaderboard sees Great Britain on 25 points leading USA and New Zealand tied on 20 points. With four points covering second to seventh on the leaderboard every team is still a mathematical chance of making the final race.

Nic had a great chat with Sir Ben Ainslie about the day’s racing, and women in sailing after the racing:

The Spanish, who won the practice racing sessions, are looking forward to a completely different day. Jordi Xammar:

The Danish had a seriously variable day, starting with a third, and moving backward from there. Nicolai Sehested:

The forecast is looking more promising for racing today, with between 11 and 15 knots over the racing period. With the extra breeze Race Management dropped the setup to the Standard Wing (24m) – meaning teams will all be facing a rig configuration and pressure completely different to day one. 

We will keep you posted. 

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