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Mubadala Season 3 Grand Final at San Francisco, USA - Day 1

by SailGP 6 May 2023 21:13 PDT 6-7 May 2023
Race Day 1 of the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco, USA © Bob Martin for SailGP

Emirates Great Britain stakes claim on Grand Final spot with stellar performance

With a spot in the Championship Final Race on the line, Emirates Great Britain soared and France faltered on what could be a defining day in both team's seasons. Sir Ben Ainslie won one fleet race and finished second in the other two to firmly put one foot in Sunday's three-boat final race of Season 3. In contrast it was a disappointing day for France driver Quentin Delapierre, who finished the day in eighth place and sits a daunting fifteen points behind Ainslie in the event standings.

Ainslie sailed aggressively in every pre-start to ensure he got the better of the France team, holding them back and rattling Delapierre to set the battle for the final alight.

It means that as things stand France would lose its all-important third place on the season standings and drop out of the Championship Final Race for $1 million on Sunday afternoon.

By no means to be forgotten, Tom Slingsby's Australian team once again showed why it's the one to beat, finishing the day in first place after two race wins. New Zealand sits in third place in the event standings and has all but guaranteed itself a spot in Sunday's final.

All the post race talk however was about a commanding performance from Emirates Great Britain.

Ainslie said: "We are just really pleased with the way the team came together on a challenging day and hopefully we can do more of that tomorrow and get ourselves into that Championship Final Race - that's the plan. For sure there's a few little things we can work on but generally we're really happy with the day."

Emirates Great Britain strategist Hannah Mills said: "It was great, we really took it to the French in the starts and in the first two we managed to execute really well and get the start we wanted and then the last start they came for us and we had a good old battle and managed to get the better of them. It was a good day but there's still a lot to do."

France was left rueing its poor starts but Delapierre was remaining optimistic about his team's chances.

Delapierre said: "I think we just have to regroup and reset and take every opportunity for tomorrow and stay optimistic. It's a special moment to get the final of SailGP and you have to just enjoy the sailing out there and do what we can to be on."

Elsewhere Nicolai Sehested's Denmark endured a happier day after a disappointing last event in New Zealand to sit fourth after day one, equal on points with the winners of that event, Phil Robertson's Canada. Switzerland SailGP Team led by Sebastien Schneiter finished third in the day's first race to improve its chances of avoiding last place in the Season 3 standings, while its rival for that position, Spain, finished the day in ninth.

It was a disappointing day on home waters for Jimmy Spithill's United States team which failed to finish higher than fourth in any race and sits seventh after day one.

The vocal San Francisco crowd did have plenty to cheer about in the Inspire WASZP Grand Final however, with 19-year-old USA athlete Gavin Ball putting on a spectacular show, beating Duncan Gregor (GBR) and Hippolyte Gruet (FRA) to win the Championship of Champions.

17-year-old Stella Bilger from New Zealand was triumphant in the female division, overcoming fierce competition from Rachael Betschart (Bermuda) and Hedvig Dokstrød (Norway). Both Bilger and Ball will receive an incredible money-can't-buy immersive experience of joining their national SailGP teams in Season 4 and the opportunity to ride on an F50.

Inspire Racing x WASZP is a world-class program that provides a stepping stone for under-21s to develop foiling skills and create a pathway to SailGP's F50 catamarans.

The final day of SailGP's record-breaking third season starts at 2.30 p.m. local time and is available to watch on YouTube and CBS Sports in the United States. Fans around the globe can watch from wherever they are at SailGP.com/watch.

MUBADALA SEASON 3 GRAND FINAL | SAN FRANCISCO //

Day Two Racing (incl. Championship Final Race): Sunday May 7, 2.30 p.m. - 4.00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time

MUBADALA SEASON 3 GRAND FINAL // DAY ONE STANDINGS (after 3 races)

1 // Australia // 28 points
2 // Great Britain // 28 points
3 // New Zealand // 19 points
4 // Denmark // 18 points
5 // Canada // 18 points
6 // Switzerland // 16 points
7 // United States // 15 points
8 // France // 13 points
9 // Spain // 7 points

SAILGP SEASON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after ten events) //

1 // Australia // 84 points
2 // New Zealand // 73 points
3 // France // 69 points
4 // Great Britain // 68 points
5 // Denmark // 60 points
6 // Canada // 59 points
7 // United States // 57 points 8 // Switzerland // 29 points
9 // Spain // 29 points

*United States penalized 4 season points
*New Zealand penalized 4 season points
*Switzerland penalized 2 season points
*Spain penalized 2 season points

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