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U.S. SailGP Team in the hunt after day one of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas

by Laura Muma 12 Nov 2022 17:10 GMT November 12-13, 2022

Currently in second place, U.S. SailGP Team's Jimmy Spithill has no illusions: the real battle begins tomorrow at the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas. "Tomorrow is a reset; our goal is to make the podium," said the team CEO and driver.

On a light-air day that saw the F50s struggling to find enough breeze to foil the team scored a seventh, fourth and second place; securing second-place overall behind Great Britain, and tied on points with New Zealand.

USA SailGP Team helmed by Jimmy Spithill and Switzerland SailGP Team helmed by Sebastien Schneiter in action on Race Day 1 of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 12th November 2022. Photo: Ricardo Pinto for SailGP for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP

"We struggled in the first couple of starts - that was all me - but we managed to get it going in the last one," said Spithill. He attributes the third-race success to the strong start, plus they finally cracked the code on how to break free of the pack.

"It's nearly impossible to find space on such a small race track," Spithill said. [Today's race course length (.4 nautical miles) was shorter than the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa (828 meters =.44 nautical miles)].

With such a confined space to fit nine F50s, "It's like the boats are stuck to each other with a piece of shock cord; we're all just trying to get into clear air or find a clear lane," said Spithill.

With Sunday's wind forecast much improved (10 - 20 knots), SailGP plans to swap configurations on the F50's from the light-air 29-meter to the all-purpose 24-meter wing sail. "It will be a completely different game," Spithill said. "With more wind, the mid-size wing, and a tight race track, tomorrow is going to be pretty full on."

Only two points separate second to seventh place in the event standings. "Our goal is to string together a few clean races tomorrow; making the podium is really the goal for us." said Spithill.

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