Please select your home edition
SW newsletters (top)

Bronze in sight for Kirby and U.S. SailGP Team ahead of Marseille SailGP Showdown

by Laura Muma 19 Sep 2019 14:20 PDT 20-22 September 2019
U.S. SailGP Team training in Marseille before the Grand Final. © Matt Knighton for SailGP

Throughout a dramatic first SailGP season, the resilient United States SailGP Team has climbed the overall standings and is now in a battle with the British (only three points separate the two) for owning a podium spot after the SailGP Grand Final in Marseille, September 20-22.

Since the inaugural SailGP event in Sydney, the American squad has one-upped themselves at each new event tackling new challenges and delivering impressive improvements.

A look back

When first forming the U.S. SailGP Team, Helmsman Rome Kirby invested in a young, talented squad, who before February at Sydney SailGP had never raced together.

"It was most important for me to get the right mix of people and skill sets together," said Kirby early on in the season. "This is an incredibly tough boat to sail and we are learning the F50 together. I know we have all the right ingredients and talents and we will improve quickly."

Kirby's strategy to invest in building a team from the ground up paid off.

The team used Sydney's last-place finish as fuel and arrived at San Francisco SailGP hungry to improve. Coming out of the gate, the U.S. SailGP Team showed its forward progress through winning the starts and leading races, resulting in jumping two spots on the leaderboard.

But New York would test the team's tenacity when minutes before the first race Wing Trimmer Riley Gibbs injured his back. The team's Shore Manager Jeff Causey stepped in to fill the role on day one before Tom Johnson, the team's reserve wing trimmer, could join the team on day two. Despite the adversities, the Americans earned their first race win of the season that weekend, and first podium finish.

Next up, Cowes SailGP, where U.S. SailGP Team dramatically capsized just moments after the first race began in the most harrowing conditions SailGP had seen yet. Incredibly, they completed the final two races with little more than duct tape holding their severely damaged F50 together and earned valuable overall points to move them into third place overall.

Season finale preview: battle with the Brits for podium

Now, having arrived in Marseille for the SailGP Grand Final, the team aims to consolidate its overall podium position and punctuate an incredible first season.

Three intense days of racing are planned to provide U.S. fans and spectators plenty of action from the Bay of Marseille. The weekend conditions are shaping up for a potential Cowes repeat at the top end of the wind spectrum.

"It's going to be full-on this weekend," said Kirby. "There's a lot that can happen out there with the projected conditions, but most of all we need to keep the boat upright; we are all going to have our hands full."

The American - British rivalry will be one to watch, as both are ready for redemption after each team's challenges in Cowes. However, Kirby feels confident that if the U.S. squad focuses on their strengths, getting good starts and sailing the boat well, the result will take care of itself.

"Third place for us would be a huge success for the season, and we're excited to get out there."

Related Articles

France SailGP Team introduces its roster for 2020
New flight controller, new coach, and new grinder With less than 40 days before the opening of Season 2 of SailGP in Sydney, the French team is aiming to reach its 2020 objectives as early as possible in the season. Posted on 23 Jan
Denmark SailGP Team confirmed
Helmsman Nicolai Sehested leads well-rounded crew With just over a month until the start of SailGP Season 2, the roster for the Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL was confirmed for its debut campaign in the global championship. Posted on 16 Jan
Bruno Dubois joins France SailGP Team
Named as Team Manager to help the team maximize performance on the water With the second season of the highly successful SailGP championship starting in Sydney in less than 50 days, Bruno Dubois has been named manager of the France SailGP Team, and will help the team maximize its performance on the water. Posted on 15 Jan
SailGP Inspire learning camp at Lake Macquarie
The global league's community, education and outreach initiative SailGP, the annual global championship redefining sailing, returns to Sydney for Season 2 on 28/29 February 2020. SailGP Inspire, the global league's community, education and outreach initiative. Posted on 23 Dec 2019
SailGP lineup to shift for Season 2
Spain to join Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan and United States SailGP today announced the addition of the Spain SailGP Team to the global championship's Season 2 lineup. Replacing China, Spain will join Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States in the world's fastest sail racing. Posted on 17 Dec 2019
World Sailing Trust joins SailGP Inspire program
The partnership will use sailing as a force for good SailGP Inspire has joined forces with the World Sailing Trust, designating the global charity as the official charity of the league's community and outreach program. Posted on 16 Dec 2019
Denmark SailGP announced as seventh team
SailGP has announced the addition of the Denmark SailGP Team presented by Rockwool for 2020 SailGP has announced the addition of the Denmark SailGP Team presented by Rockwool ahead of the global championship's second season. Posted on 11 Dec 2019
Sir Ben Ainslie to helm British SailGP entry
INEOS joins as Presenting Partner Sir Ben Ainslie - the most successful Olympic sailor of all time - today joined the Great Britain SailGP Team. Beginning in the global league's second season kicking off in February 2020, Ainslie will represent Great Britain. Posted on 26 Nov 2019
SailGP returns to Cowes for Season 2
Historic speeds were reached in Cowes in 2019 Great Britain SailGP Team will want to impress the home crowd in Cowes and win its first SailGP title, as the team looks to fend off rivals from Australia, China, France, Japan and the USA, plus the possibility of an additional team during Season 2. Posted on 14 Nov 2019
Rolex presents the first season for SailGP
Just released is this video by Rolex reviewing the SailGP first season. Rolex is a supporting partner of the SailGP series, five-member crews representing six countries race identical F50 foiling catamarans in the world's most famous harbours. Just released is this video by Rolex reviewing the SailGP first season. Posted on 10 Nov 2019
MBW newsletters (top)