SailGP – Tom Slingsby snatches one million dollar prize in San Francisco
Yacht Racing Life editor Justin Chisholm reports exclusively from the SailGP Season 2 grand finale in San Francisco on a final day packed with drama, collisions and a one million US dollar winner.
“You couldn’t ask for a worse wind direction!” Those were the words of SailGP CEO Russell Coutts this morning as he surveyed San Francisco Bay from outside the media centre in the St. Francis YC an hour before the second and final day of the grand finale SailGP event of the international circuit’s second season. “
The cause of Coutts’ consternation was a nasty looking weather front closing in on San Francisco from the west which had dragged the prevailing wind round to the south from its normal virtually year-round westerly alignment.
This meant today’s breeze would be filtered through San Francisco’s hilly topography and parallel street system before it made its way out to the racecourse.
“I’m so peeved it has gone around to the south,” Coutts told me tersely as he punched up SailGP race director Iain Murray’s number on his phone before stomping off to get the latest update.
Out on the water the crews of the eight-strong fleet of F50 catamarans were trying to make the best of the flukey 10 – 12 knot conditions, darting between the race management boats as last minute tweaks were made to the course configuration.
Three races were on schedule for today – two to complete the five-race series to decide the winner of the San Francisco event, and one final winner-take-all, three way shoot-out between Tom Slingsby’s Australia, Jimmy Spithill’s American squad, and Nathan Outteridge’s Japanese crew.
Cup Insider – Is Barcelona a done deal to host the 37th America’s Cup?
According to an article on Spanish news outlet Cronica the city of Barcelona has been chosen to host the 37th America’s Cup – beating off challenges from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Cork in Ireland, and Malaga, Spain.
There has been no official announcement from the 36th America’s Cup winners Emirates Team New Zealand but the team’s CEO and other senior members were known to have been in Spain over recent days on site visits to both Malaga and Barcelona.
With the March 31 deadline the Kiwis set for making the venue announcement looming, the Cronica story suggests that the city has reached an agreement with the city and that the deal will be signed in the coming days with the America’s Cup trophy as a backdrop.
Cronica says Barcelona have bid 70 million Euro to secure the America’s Cup hosting deal, which it says could have as much as 1,000 million Euro economic impact on the city. According to stories in the Spanish media in recent days Malaga – located nearly 500 miles to the south – had bid 75 million Euro to bring the Cup there.
The Barcelona money is believed to have come from a variety of sources, led by the Government of Catalonia, but including funds from a group of private companies headed by the Puig perfume family.
Sail World – France SailGP Team introduces first electric foiling chase boat - Candela C-7
As the Formula 1 of sailing returns to San Francisco for the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix this weekend, the French team has an ace up its sleeve: Candela C-7, the world's first electric hydrofoil chase boat, which might help them score in the new Impact league.
Flying across the water at speeds up to 60 mph, the 50-foot catamarans of the international sailing league SailGP are the equivalent to Formula 1 cars on water. This weekend, eight teams will line up for an adrenaline rushed Season 2 finale on San Francisco Bay.
For the first time on the sailing circuit, the flying catamarans will be accompanied by an equally elevated chase boat: a Swedish-made Candela C-7 electric hydrofoil craft, which will be used by France SailGP Team's VIP guests and media to watch the races up close.
Sydney Morning Herald – What’s it like to sail in just one race for $1.3 million?
Australian helmsman Tom Slingsby has scoffed at suggestions the United States will have home-water advantage in the $US1 million ($1.3 million) winner-takes-all SailGP final, as both crews desperately try to recover from capsizes during practice in San Francisco – writes Adam Pengilly.
Sailing’s answer to Formula One, in which nations race identical 50-foot catamarans in regattas throughout the world, will come to a rich finale in the high-stakes race on Monday (AEDT).
Australia’s 50-foot catamaran capsizes during practice before the SailGP finale in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Bay was also the scene of United States skipper Jimmy Spithill’s famous America’s Cup victory in 2013, described as one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history. Oracle Team USA roared back from an 8-1 deficit to beat Emirates Team New Zealand 9-8.
Asked about Spithill’s familiarity with the San Francisco water, Slingsby said: “I find it quite interesting because if you look at any of the footage of Jimmy’s amazing 8-1 comeback win, you’ll see I’m right next to him and Kyle Langford is the wing trimmer, Kinley Fowler and Sam Newton were also part of Oracle Team USA.
“We get forgotten a bit and it’s called Jimmy Spithill’s comeback, but we have the same great memories here. We’ve actually got a lot more guys who were part of that comeback than Team USA, so I find it quite entertaining people forget we were there, too.
Yacht Racing World – Bad breakup…
Breakups are never easy and they are even more troublesome when they are played out in the public eye – as was the case with New Zealand skipper Phil Robertson’s unexpected departure from the Spanish SailGP Team on the eve of the international circuit’s Season 2 finale in San Francisco this weekend – writes Justin Chisholm.
When Spain joined SailGP at the beginning of its second season they did so as a developing nation and so were eligible to draft in the experienced Robertson to help them get up to speed on the complex F50 foiling catamarans – a role he had previously fulfilled in SailGP’s inaugural season with the Chinese team.
The Spanish squad is a mixture of experienced Olympic campaigners and talented big boat sailors and under Robertson’s tutelage they quickly melded into a potent force capable of mixing at the front of the star-studded SailGP fleet.
Over the eight events around the world in Season 2 they finished on the podium three times and sat in fourth place in the overall rankings going into the season finale in San Francisco this weekend.
Robertson was due to finish the season with the Spanish before moving on to lead the newly announced Canada SailGP Team in SailGP Season 3 which begins in Bermuda on May 14-15.
Interviewed on The Yacht Racing Podcast a few weeks ago Robertson said he was excited to try to round off his stint with the Spanish on a high note with a good performance at the US event. He even believed that, given the rights circumstances, the team could break into the top three positions which would earn them a place in the final winner-takes-all race for a one million dollar prize.
But when the Kiwi sailor arrived in San Francisco keen to get out on the water for some precious pre-regatta training ahead of this weekend’s event, the team broke the news that he would only be allowed three hours at the wheel of the boat, with the rest of the time going to 470 Olympic Bronze medalist Jordi Xammar who will helm the Spanish boat in Season 3.
The Yacht Racing Podcast – Tom Slingsby
The latest episode of The Yacht Racing Podcast was recorded in San Francisco, California where eight international professional sailing teams have been practising out on the bay ahead of the million dollar grand finale of the second season of SailGP.
Justin Chisholm’s guest this time is the prolific Australian skipper Tom Slingsby who as well as leading the SailGP rankings with his Australia SailGP team, has also in recent months won the Moth World Championship and line honours in the Middle Sea Race aboard Comanche – to say nothing of mixing it with the top teams at his first ever TP52 Worlds.
Slingsby has a mainstay of the SailGP movement from its inception and is very enthusiastic about its future. However he is also an past Americas’ Cup winner, and – as he reveals in the interview – he has not ruled out getting involved with the 37th America’s Cup.