Australia Takes SailGP Season Two
SAN FRANCISCO— On March 27, the second season of SailGP peaked at the 2022 Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix as Australia won the final winner-take-all race to claim the title and the $1 million prize purse.
The format for the San Francisco event was adjusted to recognize the overall season champion as well as the winner of the final set of races. There were five fleet races in San Francisco which were added into the overall ranking of the season and the top three teams determined the finale.
Season 1 champion Tom Slingsby’s Australia Team and Jimmy Spithill’s United States SailGP Team arrived in San Francisco, having accrued enough points for the final. On Dec. 17-18, 2021, Slingsby took first for Australia, Spithill took second for the U.S.A., and Phil Robertson took third for Spain. Australia and the U.S.A qualified for the finals previously, leaving the win for the final race up for grabs. After leading through Sunday’s three fleet races, Nathan Outteridge’s Japan team claimed the last ticket.
While San Francisco’s westerly winds off the ocean are reliable during the summer, hosting the event in March presents a risk, which proved true on March 27 as a more southerly direction wind off the land delivered variable conditions in variable conditions, both strength and direction.
All eight teams completed the final two fleet races. Slingsby’s team won the San Francisco title before the top three teams in the season rankings – Australia, U.S.A., and Japan – took over the stage to claim the eight-event championship title.
However, the U.S. was damaged after an incident in the fourth fleet when Spain gained room at the first leeward mark, damaging the American’s stern and knocking them out of the final fleet race.
Drastic repairs readied the U.S. Team for the title race but were wary of possible issues that would handicap the boat’s performance.
The test would soon come, and while the U.S. held the lead through the first off wind leg, they would drop to last when the teams turned upwind, with the race getting abandoned due to a whale on the course. Soon after that, the wind dropped to a few knots, causing further delay.
Winds remained light for the second go-around, with only Australia leaving the start line with speed. Their advantage quickly became significant, but dropping off their foils at the first upwind mark presented an opportunity for the U.S.A.
However, that was soon lost as the home team misplayed their approach. After being passed by Japan, Australia regained its mojo to finish with a lead of over 600 meters on Japan and nearly 1900 meters on the U.S.A.
San Francisco Results
- Australia, Tom Slingsby, 2-4-3-2-1, 33
- Great Britain, Ben Ainslie, 1-6-4-3-2, 29
- Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 6-2-1-6-4, 26
- Denmark, Nicolai Sehested, 4-1-6-7-5, 22
- New Zealand, Peter Burling, 3-5-8-1-3*, 21
- United States, Jimmy Spithill, 5-7-5-5-DNC, 14
- France, Quentin Delapierre, 7-8-7-4-6, 13
- Spain, Jordi Xammar, 8-3-2-DNF-DNC, 9
* Four penalty points added due to foul with France
Final Results – SailGP Season 2 Championship (8 events)
- Australia, Tom Slingsby, 85
- Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 77
- the United States, Jimmy Spithill, 74
- Great Britain, Ben Ainslie (alternate – Paul Goodison), 50
- New Zealand, Peter Burling (alternate – Arnaud Psarofaghis), 47
- Denmark, Nicolai Sehested, 45
- Spain, Jordi Xammar (alternate – Phil Robertson), 43
- France, Quentin Delapierre, 39