The United States SailGP Team’s Season 3 Grand Final berth is in peril after an inconsistent performance during Sunday’s races saw the team slide from second place overnight to finish in sixth overall at the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas.
Mincing no words US SailGP Team’s CEO and driver Jimmy Spithill said: “We made too many mistakes today. In general, we just didn’t sail well. The team came into the day in second place and is leaving in sixth.”
Race 2 showed a brief glimmer of hope, when the American team returned to form and finished second, rebounding after its last place to begin the day.
They needed a top-half finish in the final fleet race to secure their slot for the podium final but could only finish the race down in seventh place. “We just slid backwards and got out of phase,” commented Spithill.
After seven events in SailGP’s 11-event season, US SailGP Team remain in seventh-place overall but have slipped to 11 points away from qualifying for the Grand Final in San Francisco in May.
The next three events in Singapore, Sydney and Christchurch in New Zealand will be crucial to regaining the positive momentum the American team showed in the previous two events.
The saving grace may be that SailGP racing has shown that anything can – and does – happen in the global championship.
Case in point, Dubai fans were treated to one of the most thrilling podium final races yet in SailGP history, where multiple lead changes took place throughout as Australia earned the win over France in second place and Great Britain in third.
SailGP racing continues next at the Singapore Sail Grand Prix, which kicks off the new year’s action on January 14 –15.