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Battle lines are drawn ahead of SailGP's long-awaited return to New York

by SailGP 21 Jun 22:25 BST June 22-23, 2024
Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby leads the fleet with the New York City skyline in the background ahead of the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix in New York, USA © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

In a tighter-than-ever leaderboard, all eyes are on the unfolding fight for third between Denmark, France, Spain and - unbelievably - three-time SailGP season champions, Australia.

SailGP is back in the Big Apple for the first time in five years, with ten national teams gearing up for a high-stakes weekend of racing. The penultimate stop on the Season 4 calendar, New York marks the final chance to secure points before the USD $2 million Grand Final race in San Francisco (July 13-14).

With only eight points separating second and fifth in the overall standings, Denmark, France, Spain and even three-time SailGP Season champions, Australia, need a solid result. Peter Burling's Black Foils lead the pack with a comfortable 11-point lead.

At this morning's official opening press conference, Australian driver Tom Slingsby responded to questions about whether this could be the year the Flying Roo missed out entirely.

"We have had three seasons straight where we've won the most season points and have gone into the Grand Final with a comfortable buffer. This is the first time we don't have that comfort. It's exciting to be in this position - for sure there's more adrenaline. There's more on the line knowing that every race counts. I have full confidence in my team and we perform well under pressure," Slingsby said.

France, Spain and ROCKWOOL Denmark also pointed to growing pressure, with Danish driver Nicolai Sehested recognizing the need for change in order to turn around a string of poor performances in event final races.

"I think we need a different strategy. In terms of pressure, maybe we're trying too hard. Maybe we need to do something differently. I think if you've been in as many finals as we have without winning one, you're definitely doing something wrong," Sehested said.

Racing for the first time on home waters, American Taylor Canfield acknowledged his team's struggles - including three consecutive 10th place finishes in Halifax. Canfield said, "We're going to go out and push hard. We're a work in progress, we're not hiding from that."

Asked whether his landmark ownership group had concerns, Canfield said, "Coming into SailGP with our ownership group we were very clear, we have a couple of goals - to win both on and off the water. We were very open with them that it was going to take time, and they were very supportive of our plan to get to that level."

Ahead of this weekend's racing, SailGP announced Brazil would become the first South American team to join the league in Season 5. The news sent shockwaves throughout the fleet, especially for the last-remaining league-owned teams Canada, France, Spain and New Zealand whose future is uncertain amid confirmation of an 11-boat fleet in Season 5 - and 12 teams vying for a spot on the startline.

France's Quentin Delapierre said: "It's normal pressure from the league. I feel confident and it's not a big problem. I think Accor [France team partner] have done an unbelievable job with us this season. I think the team has done a good job - we haven't wasted money, no damage on the boat, the F50 is in good shape, so we will see where we are at the end of the season."

New Zealand driver Peter Burling was forced to answer questions about whether any Black Foils would entertain an offer from a private team next season: "Every team in the league has the same dilemma. We're really excited by the group we've got at the moment - we're all really good friends but sport is sport. It's a professional environment and everyone is playing with the same tools. It's going to be an exciting transfer season for sure."

The Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix gets under way tomorrow, Saturday June 22, with live racing between 4.30pm-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. The event kicks off summer in the city as the can't-miss racing event of the season - the league's most spectacular North American event to date.

The intersection of sport and spectacle, the event is fully sold out on Saturday, with limited seats remaining for Sunday only. Fans will experience food and beverage from iconic open-air food market, Smorgasburg, as well as an après-sail performance from EDM duo Loud Luxury, playing live from the waterfront on Saturday.

The intersection of sport and spectacle, the event is fully sold out on Saturday, with limited seats remaining for Sunday only. Fans will experience food and beverage from iconic open-air food market, Smorgasburg, as well as an après-sail performance from EDM duo Loud Luxury, playing live from the waterfront on Saturday.

For details on how to watch around the globe visit SailGP.com/Watch. In most territories you can watch the racing live on the Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com homepages.

Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix //

Day One Racing: Saturday, June 22, 4.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m. EST
Day Two Racing: Sunday, June 23, 4.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m. EST

SailGP Season 4 Championship Standings (after 11 events) //

1 // New Zealand 83 points
2 // Spain 72 points
3 // Australia 71 points
4 // France 65 points
5 // ROCKWOOL Denmark 64 points
6 // Emirates GBR 58 points
7 // Canada 58 points
8 // USA 50 points
9 // Germany 35 points
10 // Switzerland 28 points

Season penalties:

  • Australia SailGP Team - docked eight points in Season Championship for 12-point penalty at ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
  • Canada SailGP Team - docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
  • Emirates Great Britain - docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
  • Germany SailGP Team - docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix
  • New Zealand SailGP Team unable to compete in Taranto due to the structural failure of the team's wingsail at France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
  • ROCKWOOL Denmark - docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
  • Spain SailGP Team - docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía - Cádiz
  • Switzerland SailGP Team - docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council
Sailgp Season 4 Impact League Standings //

1 // ROCKWOOL Denmark // 454 points
2 // Switzerland // 432 points
3 // Emirates Great Britain // 420 points
4 // France // 411 points
5 // Australia // 404 points
6 // New Zealand // 390 points
7 // Germany // 385 points
8 // United States // 381 points
9 // Canada // 369 points
10 // Spain // 341 points

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