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Financial pressure, US capsize and more in the latest episode of SailGP's Racing on the Edge

by SailGP/Sail-World.com/nz 17 Jun 19:57 BST
The latest episode of SailGP's Racing on the Edge © SailGP

The latest episode of SailGP's Racing on the Edge docuseries, in partnership with Rolex, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the intense nation versus nation rivalries heating up across the global racing league, the uncertainty of the last-remaining league-owned teams, and the final push to the Season 4 Grand Final next month in San Francisco - with $2 million in prize money on the line.

Interesting comments from US team about needing a new wing for after their capsize in Bermuda, and finding out that the spare wing supposed to be with the regatta was not in Bermuda. Of course the irony is that having got a rig for Halifax, they, along with Switzerland and Germany, were not permitted to race in one or two races on the second day.

The episode opens with scenes from the opening press conference for the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix, honing in on the elephant in the room: that four teams - Spain, France, Canada and even frontrunners New Zealand - are all at risk of not being on the startline in Season 5 if they don't secure investment before the November launch. At the same event, Australia's Tom Slingsby confirmed his team's future in the league was secure amid the growing pressure - hinting at a major announcement soon.

When asked about the financial status of his team, Spanish driver Diego Botin said: "We have a group of investors willing to join the team and move forward with us - the team is also working very hard on achieving this financial power."

The episode flashes to official practice racing in Bermuda, where Taylor Canfield's US SailGP Team suffered a dramatic capsize due to a crew error - causing substantial damage to the team's wing, ruling them out of the weekend's racing. Reflecting on the incident, Canfield said: "As soon as I was ripped out of the cockpit, I landed on the wing and broke through it - within two seconds, I was actually being pulled under the water."

Light was shed on the ever-growing rivalry between the Canada and US teams when the Canadians posted on social media poking fun at the US team's mishap.

In an interview, Canfield threw barbs at Canada's Phil Robertson: "I'd say Phil is probably more on the arrogant side to be honest. He always seems to be talking down to people like he's almost above and better than them."

Robertson clapped back saying: "I think the first time I raced against Taylor Canfield was in 2009 and at that moment he was an arrogant little college kid. And the only thing that has changed since is that Taylor is no longer at college."

Mike Buckley, US Team CEO and Strategist had the last word, commenting, "When Phil is good enough to race for his own country [New Zealand], then he can start running his mouth."

On the final day of racing in Bermuda, Botin's Los Gallos were greeted with uncertainty after receiving a penalty at the last race mark of the weekend's fifth and final fleet race - failing to give enough room to Quentin Delapierre's France SailGP Team - landing Spain in fourth.

Luckily for the Spanish, drama followed Robertson onto the water. With the Canadians coming last in the same race, giving Spain just enough of a points advantage to secure their spot in the three- boat final against league frontrunners, Tom Slingsby's Australia and Peter Burling's Black Foils.

Earlier in the episode, it was revealed that Botin had brought a new performance coach into the team - Olympic medalist Hamish Willcox, former coach to league heavyweights Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, among others. Willcox' involvement was reflected in the team's skillfully-maneuvered win in the Final, claiming Bermuda victory - the team's second event win of Season 4.

The episode closes with Spain CEO Tony Alquezar providing a teaser into the group of investors said to be lining up to purchase the team: "I understand that this is business, if they decide they want to sell the franchise to another team and investor - no hard feelings. But let me put it this way - if you think the American athlete investors and Sebastian Vettel behind Germany are important - you will just have to wait and see what we have in store."

With the penultimate stop on the Season 4 calendar unfolding this weekend - the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix (June 22-23) - teams will be doing all they can to fight for a spot in the SailGP Grand Final (July 13-14). Tune into this weekend's action, or catch it in person - with tickets available at SailGP.com/NewYork.

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