At the end of a thrilling, incident-packed season, Jimmy Spithill’s United States SailGP Team almost completed the perfect comeback but came up just short at the final hurdle.
On Sunday, March 27, during the Championship Final Race in the stunning surroundings of San Francisco Bay, the US boat fell into a wind hole and the team wasn’t able to recover during the decisive final moments of the season. Tom Slingsby’s Australia Team claimed the second overall championship and the $1m USD prize.
Given how the racing began, with drama in the windy conditions, no one would have imagined the final race of the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix would unravel in the light, shifty breeze. Yet Spithill gave all the credit to the Australian team.
“I think Tom got off the line well,” said Spithill, 42, US SailGP Team Driver and CEO. “We did think at one of the top line gates we were going to have a shot but at the end of the day, you really have to credit the Aussies.
They have been the benchmark team all season. They went back to back. I mean it’s very impressive.”
In the first qualifying race today, Spain collided with the American F50, climbing up the side of the American boat as it forced its way inside of Spithill at the second turning mark.
The Spanish team’s curved hydrofoil slid under and then sliced off the back end of the US boat. The team narrowly avoided serious damage as Flight Controller Rome Kirby had to jump out of the way when Spain’s red hull almost landed on top of them.
The American shore team quickly assessed the damage and sprung into action to replace the rudder. They utilised Race 5 to complete the repairs with an eye on competing in the final, while more action unfolded and another collision happened between France and New Zealand.
After starting off the season in last place and steadily climbed the leaderboard, the US team looked poised to complete the comeback and win the Championship on US waters, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Season 3 of SailGP will open with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess on May 14 and 15 in Bermuda.
Ten teams will contest Season 3 with the addition of Switzerland and Canada to the starting line-up. Events are confirmed in Chicago, Plymouth, Copenhagen, Saint-Tropez, Cadiz-Andalucia, Dubai, Christchurch and the final again in San Francisco. More destinations are still to be announced.
SailGP Season 2 Championship Final Standings
3. United States
4. Great Britain
5. New Zealand
Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco Final Standings
1. Australia – 33 pts
2. Great Britain – 29 pts
3 . Japan – 26 pts
4. Denmark – 22 pts
5. New Zealand – 21 pts
6. United States – 14 pts
7. France – 13 pts
8. Spain – 9 pts