The second event of SailGP Season 4 gets underway tomorrow from the Port of Los Angeles. After a variable event in Chicago to get the season underway, the theme in the lead up to this weekend has been “tight” for all the teams. The on water action is going to be split with those at the top of the table looking to further their early leads going into the European leg of the season, while France, Emirates GBR and the USA will be looking to reduce the margin between them and the top teams.
There is pressure on a number of teams off the water as well. USA SailGP Team are under heavy media pressure as they have struggled to deliver results on home waters, driver Jimmy Spithill however defended the program and young team saying “mistakes on the water, technical issues, even a tough call from an umpire, that can really make the difference to whether you finish on the top of the ladder. And then let’s not forget you’re going against the best in the world in the same equipment.”
“We’re really going to focus on consistency, clean races, trying to avoid any boat handling mistakes, and just enjoy the day. If you look at the Aussie team, they’ve completely dominate since it’s inception. Even for them, in past events where they’ve had a technical issue or made some mistakes, they’ve finished on the bottom of the table. That just shows how tough the competition is.” USA Driver Jimmy Spithill.
The pressure on Emirates GBR is more internal, with mistakes hurting their Chicago event. Driver Sir Ben Ainslie said it was as simple as not sailing to their potential, and the focus this weekend being on the root of the errors. The team has been working with coach Rob Wilson and the data from the Oracle cloud to compare other teams’ performance in Chicago.
“We’ve got a fantastic team and a huge amount of talent across the board. We just have to stick to our processes, focus hard and go out and execute.” Driver Sir Ben Ainslie said.
Canada will be looking to back up a good Chicago event with a result to celebrate their new ownership – a huge relief for that team to have that distraction dealt with early in the season. Germany on the other hand will be looking to draw on the racing experience of their co-owner Sebastian Vettel, who is attending this weekend.
Practice racing on Friday looked more like Sunday in Chicago than the promised sea-breezes with teams struggling to get the F50s on the foils. There were some interesting performances though. USA showed some promising results, including a second place in practice race three, and Germany scored a race win in practice race two. The practice final saw Emirates GBR, Germany and Denmark face off, with GBR taking the race out.
Things to watch out for this weekend:
- Tight race course meaning few overtaking opportunities
- Low current and swell with sea breeze
- Influence of buildings on the shore in lighter conditions
To find out how to watch where you are head to sailgp.com/watch and follow @sailorgirlHQ.