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U.S. SailGP Team first to take flight on 'Chicago's Skyline Stadium'

by Laura Muma 16 Jun 05:56 BST June 18-19, 2022

Jimmy Spithill and the United States SailGP Team have arrived in Chicago for the second event of SailGP Season 3: the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier, June 18-19. Today, the American team was first to test the waters at Chicago's new "Skyline Stadium" (Lake Michigan between Navy Pier and the Adler Planetarium).

This is SailGP's debut in Chicago - the first time the global racing championship has competed on freshwater - and the weekend promises to deliver spectacular racing action as the sport's best athletes compete on 50-foot hydro-foiling race boats that fly over water while sailing at 60+ mph speeds.

Spithill's initial reaction is that Chicago race fans are in for a real treat. "Racing here is going to be awesome," said the CEO and Driver for the American team. "This event is ready-made for fans and the tight race track sets itself up to promise a lot of passing and action. It's going to be a great show for everybody watching from Navy Pier and along the lakeshore."

The American boat set sail today for its first day of practice, with the rest of the nine-boat fleet joining in for training directly in front of the Chicago Skyline Thursday and Friday afternoon before racing officially begins this weekend.

Spithill said: "Tomorrow will be the first real test for the short course and it will be cool to see how it all sets up. I was surprised at how many boaters are already out on the water today to have an early look and follow along. Chicago fans are the best."

The U.S. SailGP Team today was also treated to some extra special Chicago sports fan support. The professional Chicago sports team mascots of Benny the Bull, Clark the Cub, Chicago Fire's Sparky, Supernova from the Chicago Red Stars and Tommy Hawk from Chicago Blackhawks took to the water to cheer on the American team and welcome them to the Windy City.

The national teams from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland will join the American home team on Lake Michigan on Thursday and Friday afternoon for training.

Two-time SailGP champion Tom Slingsby and the Australian team currently lead the standings after a Season 3 opening victory in Bermuda last month, but Spithill and the American team are hungry for their first win, especially in front of the home crowd.

Tickets are still available for purchase to enjoy a fantastic weekend of racing. The Navy Pier Race Village opens at noon on Saturday and Sunday, with racing at 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CST.

Ticket packages begin at $35 for general admission, with multiple packages including premium on-shore and on-water VIP hospitality. Race Village access includes big screens to complement the live action on Lake Michigan, plus expert commentary; in-between racing DJs and entertainment, fan stores, plus exclusive opportunities to interact with SailGP athletes. Purchase here.

Not able to make it in person? CBS Sports will broadcast the racing live both days; and full race coverage is available on SailGP's YouTube channel and SailGP APP. Full viewing options here.

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