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U.S. SailGP Team rises above adversity on day 1 of New York SailGP

by Laura Muma 22 Jun 02:41 PDT
New York SailGP © Drew Malcolm

With only minutes to spare before racing today, U.S. SailGP Team Shore Manager Jeff Causey replaced injured Wing Trimmer Riley Gibbs aboard the team's F50 to race the first day of New York SailGP.

Causey, who in addition to being shore team manager is also a professional sailor, is no stranger to stepping into high-pressure situations. In 2013, in the final race of the America's Cup, he made a critical structural repair to the wingsail for ORACLE TEAM USA just minutes before the famous tie-breaker race so the team could sail on to win one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

However, today marked the first time Causey has ever trimmed the wing on board the F50.

"Jeff did a great job today stepping into a very difficult position in tough conditions," said Rome Kirby, U.S. SailGP Team helmsman. "Obviously it's frustrating given all the preparation we've done to make a run at this event, but the team responded well, our boat is one piece with no damage, and tomorrow is another day."

Friday's racing provided plenty of breath-taking moments, beginning with the Great Britain SailGP Team capsizing just prior to race one. While the crash ended the Brit's hopes to race for the day, it provided a window of opportunity for the American team to gain valuable points on their rival.

Great Britain SailGP Team sits in third overall on the Championship Series leaderboard; and U.S. SailGP Team in fourth.

"Given the last-minute crew change we changed our race strategy," said Kirby. "Today our biggest priority became completing all three races and keeping the boat upright."

After today's racing, the American team is now just three points behind the British.

Gibbs is now confirmed to sit out for the remainder of the event with a back injury, one sustained on board the F50 earlier in the day. "Some large waves came through that knocked me off balance and as I twisted to stop from falling overboard, I tweaked my back," Gibbs said. "After seeing the medical team, the determination was made that pending further diagnosis I will be cheering on the boys from shore."

Looking toward tomorrow's racing, the U.S. SailGP Team can confirm that Wing Trimmer Coach Tom Johnson is now en route to New York and will replace Gibbs.

"It will be a different game out there tomorrow," promised Kirby.

Racing tomorrow begins at 5 p.m. EDT and broadcast live across the SailGP APP, SailGP Facebook Live and YouTube, and tape delayed on CBS Sports (8:30 p.m. EDT.

Local fans can also come to the free SailGP Race Village in North Cove Marina, or on the water from SailGP spectator boats.

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