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SailGP: Spithill falls overboard, Brit breaks leg in incident packed final practice session

by USSailGP/Sail-World 19 Aug 2021 17:48 PDT 20 August 2021
USA SailGP Team almost capsizes during the Practice Fleet Races at Denmark SailGP © Ricardo Pinto/SailGP

US SailGP's skipper, Jimmy Spithill was thrown overboard, and crew member Paul Campbell-James broke a leg in the incident packed final practice session for Rockwool SailGP Denmark.

Campbell-James will be replaced by former NZSailGP crew member and Olympic Nacra 17 sailor, Jason Saunders (NZL).

The incident occurred during a turbulent official practice less than 24 hours before the start of racing at the Rockwool Denmark Sail Grand Prix, when the F50 wing-sailed, foiling catamarans topped 50kts.

Jason Saunders, who previously raced as interim wing trimmer for the New Zealand SailGP Team earlier this season, will compete in a temporary capacity for the Danish event.

Saunders is currently en route to Aarhus from Marseille, France and will arrive prior to racing tomorrow.

The injury to Campbell-James was the result of a maneuver during official practice racing that threw both him and Driver Jimmy Spithill out of the cockpit.

Spithill: “Our thoughts are with Paul and all of us on the team wish him a quick and successful recovery. Obviously, this has an unexpected and significant impact for our team as we look towards the weekend’s racing but if anything, this team has performed exceptionally under pressure, fighting through more adversity than any other team this season. We’ll come out fighting tomorrow.”

Despite starting the season at the bottom of the leaderboard following an unsolicited collision and capsize in Bermuda, strong performances at subsequent events – including two consecutive podium final appearances – currently has the U.S. SailGP Team sitting in fourth place, only three points out of first place overall.

The injury to Campbell-James adds to a season that has seen the American team plagued with misfortune, most recently fighting through a defective rudder at the previous in Plymouth which was responsible for loss of flight in the final race, a rudder that was supplied to the team after an underwater collision in Italy robbed the team of its first event win.

Further updates regarding Campbell-James status will be provided as they are available.

The Rockwool Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Aarhus will air live on CBS Sports Network tomorrow, Friday, August 20th at 9:00am EDT and Saturday, July 21st at 7:00am EDT. Free streaming coverage of the racing will also be available on the SailGP APP and YouTube channels.

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