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U.S. SailGP Team rides first win momentum into Spain

by Laura Muma 23 Sep 19:33 BST September 24-25, 2022
USA SailGP Team helmed by Jimmy Spithill in action during a practice session ahead of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

Spithill confident ahead of Cádiz showdown

After the United States SailGP Team's winning performance in France, the team now turns its focus to this weekend's Spain Sail Grand Prix, aiming to ride the momentum and secure critical points in their quest to climb into the top half of the leaderboard.

The Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía - Cádiz presented by NEAR marks the halfway point of Season 3, and Spithill is optimistic the team has turned a corner after investing time during the front half of the season adding more depth to the roster. While the American team is currently in seventh place, they stand only nine points out of third.

"The important part is that this is a confidence game; and now we've got that monkey off our back [after winning in Saint-Tropez], we know as a team that we can win and that belief is really powerful," Spithill said. "We've got to ride that momentum."

France SailGP Team helmed by Quentin Delapierre and USA SailGP Team helmed by Jimmy Spithill ahead of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain. 23rd September 2022. Photo: Bob Martin for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP

Cádiz also marks the one-year anniversary of SailGP launching the Women's Pathway. In the past year, 25 female athletes have raced on board the F50s, and another new face joins the U.S. SailGP Team this weekend as Erika Reineke is trialing with the team as strategist. The 2017 U.S. Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year is currently in the Olympic Development Program with aspirations to qualify for Paris 2024 in the 49er FX class.

Australian SailGP Team's CEO and Driver Tom Slingsby, a former teammate of Spithill from the America's Cup, gave Spithill full props for the American team's win in Saint-Tropez. "I've sailed with Jimmy a lot; he's in the top couple of teammates I've ever sailed with in the way he brings the team together," said Slingsby.

"I think this recent win is really going to be bigger for their team than you can imagine for other teams because they've been through a tough time," Slingsby continued. "I really expect them to be right at the front of the fleet again here; they've got their confidence back and their mojo and it's exciting to see."

Spithill balanced Slingsby's compliment with pragmatism. "[Saint-Tropez] was a great result for the team," Spithill said. "One of the goals this season was to try and create more depth in the roster and I feel like we've done that.

"But having said that, there's a lot of work left to go. In the overall we're still at the back so we've got to take that confidence and the belief the team now has, and try and ride that momentum that Tom was talking about."

American fans have multiple opportunities to watch SailGP this weekend:

  • For the first time, CBS will air an exclusive racing special from the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix during prime time on CBS Saturday at 1 p.m. EDT.
  • Live racing action from the Spain Sail Grand Prix coverage begins at 10 a.m. EDT both Saturday and Sunday on SailGP's Youtube channel.

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