Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Double devastation on final day of Spain Sail Grand Prix

by SailGP 10 Oct 12:51 PDT 9-10 October 2021

Capsizes by Spanish and Brits bookend the final day of racing in Cádiz, Andalusia

Over 11,000 fans witness Aussies claim victory after dramatic podium race with powerhouse rivals - U.S. and Great Britain

The home team went from hero to zero when a capsize ahead of the final day of racing in Cádiz, Andalusia, took the Spanish team out of contention for the Spain Sail Grand Prix. However, they weren't the only team to suffer a devastating blow. Ben Ainslie's British team also turned-over in the choppy waters of the Bay of Cádiz in the final podium race, leaving Tom Slingsby's Aussie team to take the victory.

After an impressive opening day, winning their first ever SailGP race in front of thousands of cheering fans lining the streets and Bay of Cádiz, Phil Robertson's Spanish team was laser focused on day two. But intense conditions - racing at the top end of the window for the 24 meter wingsail - saw the team's dreams shattered before the F50 could get onto the racecourse.

Eighty minutes before the start of the first race, the Spanish team capsized as they headed to the race area. Everyone was accounted for straight away but, on righting the boat, it was clear that the damage sustained to the wingsail would mean that the team would be heading back to the dock early. It was a blow for the team plus the eleven thousand fans that turned out on the second day of racing and His Majesty King Felipe VI. The latter communicated with the team to make sure they were okay, after bonding with them the day prior when he sailed on board the F50 in practice.

Robertson said: "We've been in two finals and we feel like we can actually win an event now. We came into today with the whole support of the country behind us and the fans here in Cádiz. We thought we could do some good stuff, we quite enjoyed the windy conditions and it all went a bit pear shaped from the get-go. It's going to be a tough road from here for us but we are competitive, so we are just going to have to do our best."

It wasn't only a baptism of fire for new driver Quentin Delapierre of France, but also for the Women's Pathway Program athletes who raced on the F50s for the first time ever in Cádiz and experienced two very different ends of the spectrum across the two days.

After two intense races on the final day, it was the powerhouses of Australia, Great Britain and Jimmy Spithill's U.S. team that would face-off in the final. Ainslie timed the start to perfection, and the three F50s flew off the line at ridiculous speeds with the Brits in front. However, at the first turning mark, the Brits followed the same fate as the Spanish and capsized the boat following a serious nose-dive. The spectacular capsize inevitably ended the Brits quest for top spot, leaving the Aussies to run away with the win, who left Spithill's U.S. team far in its wake.

Slingsby said: "We knew it was going to be a full-on day when we heard the Spanish went over trying to get out to the race track. We did a couple of warm ups and then relaxed because we didn't want to use up all our luck in practice.

"We are stoked. I'm happy we're on form for the final event and we're heading to Australia in the lead. In that final podium race, the plan wasn't to go after anyone or anything like that, but there was an opportunity with Jimmy, so we took it. And then, off the line, we realised Ben got a better start, better acceleration and we saw it all unfold right in front of us. From our perspective it looked like they just got a big gust and a little bit high on the foils and I don't really know what happened after that but I just saw him go into a huge pitch-pole right in front of us and we just had to avoid him. After that we managed to gain a big lead and just had to nurse our way around the track."

Racing onboard for the first time and taking her first SailGP event win was Nina Curtis who added: "Those were by far the craziest conditions I've ever experienced. Not scary - we've been so well trained in terms of safety - but you are very aware that things can go wrong out there in those conditions. I've just got so much confidence in our team, they were so impressive under pressure - especially with the conditions but it was a very calm feeling onboard the boat today.

"I was trying to help as much as possible by feeding in information but I was also aware not to cause a sensory overload. It was a real honor and pretty special to be onboard and racing with the team and getting a win. I am so stoked for not only myself but also all the other female athletes that were racing onboard this weekend. It is a pretty historic moment."

The victory in Spain was Australia's third win of the season and positions them back on top of the leaderboard, filling the team with confidence heading into its home event, the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG. A second place finish for Spithill in Cádiz, sees the U.S. team retain its second place overall but just one point from the Aussies. Nathan Outteridge's Japan team is tied on points with the U.S. - after dropping from the top spot following a fourth place finish - and Ainslie's Brits are just off the podium in fourth place. Points are close and there is everything to play for as the championship heads into its final two events of the season.

Ainslie said: "It's really disappointing for the team. Before that we had a great day, and really enjoyed sailing in the breeze. So I am just frustrated with the overall final race.

"It's really hard to explain to people just how tough the F50s are to sail. You can see we've got great sailors on our team, we had a great start, we got into the lead. Unless you're absolutely perfect with your trim and balance of the boat, you can just lose control like we did. Tough one for the team but we take it on the chin and hope to come back stronger."

The Spain Sail Grand Prix completes the European leg of SailGP Season 2. All the high-flying F50 action returns to Sydney, Australia - home of Slingsby's reigning champions - on December 17-18 for the penultimate event before the Race to San Francisco, set for March 2022.

Spain Sail Grand Prix // Cádiz - Andalusia

1 // Australia
2 // United States
3 // Great Britain
4 // Japan
5 // New Zealand
6 // Denmark
7 // Spain
8 // France

SailGP Season Championship leaderboard: (after 6 events)

1 // Australia // 45 pts
2 // United States // 44 pts
3 // Japan // 44 pts
4 // Great Britain // 40 pts
5 // New Zealand // 36 pts
6 // Spain // 35 pts
7 // Denmark // 33 pts
8 // France // 31 pts

Related Articles

Canada completes line-up for SailGP Season 3
Owned by innovative businessman and investment entrepreneur and lifelong sailor, Fred Pye SailGP has announced that the line-up for Season 3 - starting May 2022 - will be further enhanced with the addition of Canada joining the global league for Season 3. Posted on 20 Oct
Champion crowned winner of eSailGP Championship
Great Britain's VIT Farley claims victory in winner-takes-all eSailGP Grand Final eSailGP Season 2's virtual high-speed action culminated on Friday with eight super-pumped qualifying players vying for the coveted title of 2021 eSailGP Champion. Posted on 19 Oct
Relive the best bits from Spain Sail Grand Prix!
A fantastic weekend in Cadiz for Australia It was a fantastic weekend in Cadiz for Australia, who won the Spain Sail Grand Prix and returned to the top of the SailGP Season Championship with only two events remaining! Posted on 16 Oct
Australia wins third Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz
Australia scores its third win of the season at SailGP Cadiz A dramatic afternoon in Cádiz ended with Australia winning the Spain Sail Grand Prix to return to the top of the SailGP Season. Posted on 11 Oct
SailGP: Kiwis win first race in breezy Cadiz
New Zealand SailGP Team won the first race in a fast and furious final day in Cádiz The New Zealand SailGP Team won the first race in a fast and furious final day in Cádiz, but it wasn't enough to secure a position in the winner-takes-all final as the team finished fifth at the Spain Sail Grand Prix. Posted on 11 Oct
SailGP: Light airs and start errors let down Kiwis
The New Zealand SailGP Team has it all to do on Day 2 of the Spain Sail Grand Prix The New Zealand SailGP Team has it all to do on Day 2 of the Spain Sail Grand Prix after a frustrating opening race day in Cádiz. A peculiar rule resulted in some boat being scored with their finishing place and others with their last mark rounding place. Posted on 9 Oct
Spain Sail Grand Prix day 1
Aussies lead the charge as the largest crowds to date watch on With the largest crowds to attend a SailGP event to-date, the first ever Spain Sail Grand Prix got off to a flying start. In scenes reminiscent of a football match, fans roared from the shorelines and from the 1,400 boats that turned out. Posted on 9 Oct
Spanish team favorites to win Sail Grand Prix
Home team sets its sights on finishing on top of the podium With the stage set for the first ever Spain Sail Grand Prix, the port city of Cádiz is buzzing with excitement as the home team sets its sights on finishing on top of the podium. Posted on 9 Oct
SailGP: King of Spain wins with Kiwi crew
King of Spain sailed on Amokura aboard with Kiwis for trophy win ahead of SailGP Cadiz The New Zealand SailGP Team has made a promising start to the Spain Sail Grand Prix, winning the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Trophy on the eve of official racing in Cádiz. Posted on 8 Oct
Take the 'plastic promise' for race weekend
Japan SailGP Team urges Cádiz residents to tackle plastic pollution The Japan SailGP Team is calling on Cádiz residents to take the 'plastic promise' to tackle plastic pollution during this weekend's SailGP race, as it competes for further sailing glory. Posted on 8 Oct
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px1 BOTTOMDoyle Sails 2020 - Pure Brilliance 728x90 BOTTOMArmstrong-A-Wing-728x90 gif BOTTOM