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U.S. SailGP Team at Marseille SailGP Season 1 Grand Final - Day 1

by Laura Muma 20 Sep 13:18 PDT 20-22 September 2019
The U.S. SailGP Team immediately after the board break down. © Ian Roman for SailGP

The first day of Marseille SailGP brought huge frustrations for the United States SailGP Team when early in Race One the board-down line, a critical system on the foil that controls its downward movement, failed and forced the American team to retire from the first two races.

With five more fleet races planned between Saturday and Sunday, the American team is now focused on recovering valuable points.

"We've dealt with plenty of adversity throughout the season," said Helmsman Rome Kirby. "Although it was tough to start an event this way, we will come back out fighting tomorrow."

The board story

"Our board-down line broke while heading downwind to the bottom mark," Kirby said. "We tried to keep sailing, but the board kept catching and skimming the water, which obviously isn't good.

"It's really frustrating because we were in the mix until that happened, but it was clear the issue was more serious than initially thought and we made the decision to retire to allow time for the repair. Upon further inspection, we suspect that it was a failure that was not preventable, which makes it even more frustrating."

The Shore Team immediately jumped into action but it took more than halfway through Race Two before the system was repaired enough to resume racing.

"It came down to the wire, but our Shore Team got it done and working just in time. Obviously, it wasn't an ideal situation to jump straight into Race Three. We were sailing off our back foot and never really regained our composure."

Far from over... Let it rip

The inaugural SailGP season has proved that anything can happen, especially in the big breeze.

The weekend's conditions are predicted to be similar to the shifty and top-end wind conditions experienced at the New York and Cowes SailGP events, which has proven to challenge every team to its limits.

Similar to how the team rebounded after New York's first day to take a race win on Day Two, Kirby and the team are looking forward to getting back to form tomorrow to recoup valuable points on the scoreboard.

"It's game on for us," said Kirby. "We are going to get out there and sail well. We're going to let it rip."

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