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San Francisco SailGP - Race Day 1 breakdown from the GBR team

by Leslie Ryan 5 May 2019 08:52 PDT
The F50 catamaran fleet approaches the start line. Race Day 1 Event 2 Season 1 SailGP event in San Francisco, California, United States. © Bob Martin for SailGP

San Francisco SailGP race week-end is here and the first day was certainly spectacular! A strong breeze was forecast so the British team left the dock expecting another rock and roll day here in San Francisco Bay.

The tide was also scheduled to turn at 1330 which would lead to more turbulent conditions so it promised to be a tough day for Stu Bithell as the British team flight controller.

Dylan Fletcher, Great Britain SailGP Skipper summed up his thoughts after this first day of racing:

"Today delivered everything we expected wild, wet and windy. I'm really proud of how we sailed, good speed and smart sailing and, as our coach Joe Glanfield reminded us after the racing, such a massive step up from Sydney. Obviously, we are disappointed not to have converted some of those mark rounding positions to overall results but we were in the game as the top two boats most of the day and had some incredible racing."

Race one started 1235

Good start with Japan, Australia and GBR getting to the turning mark first, Japan rounded first, and by the leeward gate we could see GBR pushing to the front. Team Australia given a penalty enabling the British team to take the lead. Impressive speed and height upwind and Dylan and the team took advantage to push their nose out in front and keep clear air. Flying downwind and looking to stretch out when they had a massive splashdown and totally filled up with water massively disappointing for the guys pushing them from first down to fifth place. But they did not let that distract them and got their heads back into focus and managed to put the hammer down to get back into an impressive comeback third place for the first race of the day.

Race one results

    1st Japan
    2nd Australia
    3rd Great Britain
    4th USA
    5th - France
    6th - China

Race two started 1304

Japan interestingly went for an aggressive start at one end of the line with GBR totally at the opposite end, GBR managed to go round the turning mark first coming in at 40+ knots, an impressive start for Dylan and the lads. Japan pushed the Brits hard with their slick manoeuvres but the Brits held onto the lead for the first half of the race. The British were looking fast and smooth and way more confident out there. However Nathan and his Japanese team did not stop breathing down their necks and took advantage of that. Dylan and the guys managed to hold them off for the first half of the race but then slipped back and then got sucked back into the pack to finish in fourth place.

Race two results

    1st Japan
    2nd Australia
    3rd USA
    4th Great Britain
    5th China
    6th France

Race three started 1333

The sea state was foaming and rocking due to the tide change so added challenges for the guys. The British team nailed another great start, Dylan right at front with China, GBR and Japan neck and neck again Japan just marginally ahead with the Brits pushing all the way. Rocketing downwind 40+ knots with Japan and the British team going all the way to the boundary. Nice gybes with these two teams racing each other all day. Japan stretched out their lead with incredibly smooth boat handling. GBR held comfortably onto the second place for the last race of the day.

Race three results

    1st Japan
    2nd Great Britain
    3rd Australia
    4th USA
    5th China
    6th France

Overall results after day one

    Japan: 1, 1, 1 30 pts
    Australia: 2, 2, 3 26 pts
    Great Britain: 3, 4, 2 24 pts
    USA: 4, 3, 4 22 pts
    China: 6, 5, 5 17 pts
    France: 5, 6, 6 16 pts

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