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SailGP France | Surprise Comeback

by Ingrid Hale
SailGP France

SailGP France, held in St. Tropez this weekend was full of surprises. A new team emerged as one to watch.  The United States SailGP Team now sits just two points behind first place in the SailGP Season 2 championship standings.

Close but no cigar

The American team narrowly missed out on their first event win of the season, leading the final race for four legs only to have a large shift in the light winds favour the Japan SailGP Team who ultimately claimed victory.

The result moved the team up the overall standings, despite a season plagued by significant adversity. The most recent of which saw wing trimmer Paul Campbell-James suffer a broken leg in practice at the previous event in Denmark.

Campbell-James staged an incredible three-week recovery to compete in Saint Tropez and help the team navigate a new 29-metre wing for the first time, which debuted across the league’s F50 catamarans. These are the largest wings in SailGP competition and have been designed to provide greater lift in lighter winds.

A dynamic performance

U.S. SailGP Team Driver Jimmy Spithill said: “It was a great race and a great regatta for our team. It was dynamic – there were lots of minefields on the racecourse and we need to give credit to Japan for sailing a great race. We had our chances to win the race but we’re happy with second overall.”

The two-time America’s Cup winner added: “We continue our climb up the overall leaderboard. This is our first event where we did not have an incident on the water involving someone breaking a bone, hitting an object or almost sinking. Things must be turning for the better.”

Sunday’s result came at a crucial time in the SailGP season, with just two more events until the Grand Final at the United States Sail Grand Prix in San Francisco on March 26-27, 2022, where the top three teams overall will compete for the US$1m prize.

With the announcement that a 9th team will join the fleet for the 22022 season, this year’s calibre of racing is proving to be hard to beat.

The next event is in Cadiz, Spain on October 9-10, 2021.

SailGP Season 2 overall standings:
Japan SailGP Team (Nathan Outerridge) – 37 pts
United States SailGP Team (Jimmy Spithill) – 35 pts
Australia SailGP Team (Tom Slingsby) – 35 pts
Great Britain SailGP Team (Ben Ainslie) – 34 pts
Spain SailGP Team (Phil Robertson) – 31 pts
New Zealand SailGP Team (Peter Burling) – 30 pts
Denmark SailGP Team (Nicolai Sehested) – 28 pts
France SailGP Team (Billy Besson) – 27 pts

Watch the highlights below.

Get the behind the scenes action and watch: SailGP – Racing on the Edge

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