SailGP: Teams prepared for British leg

The third round of 2021’s SailGP season will see the teams competing in Plymouth. The championship is looking tight with plenty still up for grabs

The Great Britain Sail Grand Prix is here, as the eight national SailGP teams go head-to-head in Plymouth this weekend hoping to win the third event of series’ second season.

Great Britain, the home team for this event, won the opening event of the campaign in Bermuda, with Nathan Outteridge’s Japan being crowned Champion of event two in Taranto, Italy.

Despite not winning either event so far, the Spanish team currently tops the Championship, and Australian helm, Phil Robertson, would love to prove the Spaniards’ title credentials by being crowned Great Britain Sail Grand Prix Champion.

At the other end of the leaderboard sit Denmark and the United States, but only five points separates last place from first and a fine showing in Plymouth could turn a bad start to the season into a promising one.

We’ve already had plenty of drama in Bermuda and Italy this season, and Plymouth promises more of the same.

Brits hoping for a home SailGP win

Champion of the opening event of the season in Bermuda, Great Britain endured a more disappointing sixth-placed finish in Taranto last time out under interim Driver Paul Goodison, who has stepping in, in Sir Ben Ainslie‘s absence.

Goodison remains as skipper for the Brits’ home Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth, and he’ll be hoping for an improved performance in front ofthe home crowd.

Great Britain still sit second in the season leaderboard despite the poor showing in Italy, and a home victory would see the British team further solidify its standing as one of the Championship favorites.

Phil Robertson’s Spanish team currently top the championship. Photo: Ricardo Pinto / SailGP

Spain look to extend SailGP lead

Spain, despite not winning either event so far this campaign, is the only team ahead of the Brits in the Championship rankings right now. Phil Robertson’s team tops the leaderboard thanks to finishing fourth and third in Bermuda and Italy respectively, and he’s proven consistency across events is key to achieving success in SailGP.

The Spanish will be gunning for a victory in Plymouth, but another top-three finish would be no bad thing – and it would prove the Spaniards’ Championship credentials.

Could the USA end their unlucky streak?

It’s been a rather unfortunate start to life in SailGP for Jimmy Spithill, who stepped up to the helm of the US team at the start of this season.

The United States’ helm saw his team finish last on his debut event in Bermuda due to a collision with Japan which damaged both F50s so much they were pulled out the remainder of the event.

Things were looking much better in Taranto as the US qualified for the winner-takes-all Final, only for Spithill’s team to collide with an underwater object during said Final while the US was leading and set for victory.

Once again, damage to the foiling F50 meant the US had to retire, and Spithill now enters his third SailGP event still hoping to see one through to completion.

Denmark hunting for form

Following the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix, SailGP heads to Aarhus for the inaugural Danish event of the Championship.

There will be plenty of support for the home team in Aarhus, but Denmark will be hoping to head into that event in better form than the team has been in so far this season.

Helmsman, Nicolai Sehested sees him team currently last in the Season Championship, having so far picked up just 11 points.

It’s still early in the season so far too soon to write the Danes off, but Sehested and his teammates need to start moving up the table if they are to be in with a shot of winning silverware.

The British SailGP team will be helmed by Ben Ainslie’s replacement, Paul Goodison. Photo: Thomas Lovelock / SailGP

Replacement Drivers out to impress

Both Great Britain and New Zealand utilised interim Drivers during the Italy Sail Grand Prix, with Paul Goodison and Arnaud Psarofaghis skippering the teams respectively in place of Ben Ainslie and Peter Burling, the Kiwi helm now focussed on the Olympic Games alongside crew Blair Tuke who will look to defend their 49er Gold medal from Rio 2016.

Psarofaghis fared the better of the two, winning Race 4 and ending the weekend fourth in the rankings, but neither truly excelled as they experienced the F50 for the first time.

But now having gained a full event’s worth of experience, both Goodison and Psarofaghis will hope to put in improved showings in Plymouth to ensure the Brits and Kiwis remain within touching distance of the top of the Season Championship leaderboard.


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Source: Yachting World

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