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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Vamos Gallos! A look into Spain SailGP Team's first-ever win in 'Racing on the Edge'

by SailGP 4 Sep 2023 10:29 PDT
Spain SailGP Team helmed by Diego Botin pose for a photograph aboard their F50 catamaran as they celebrate winning the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix at the Port of Los Angeles, in California © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

As the youngest team in the fleet, Diego Botin's Gallos showed they have the skills to win at the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix

The second event of Season 4 was hosted in sunny California, at the Port of Los Angeles, greeted by blue skies, exceptional wind conditions and an unexpected result. The latest episode of SailGP's docuseries Racing on the Edge examines how the Spanish went from the back of the fleet to the winners' podium.

Driver Diego Botin and the rest of the Spain SailGP Team took center stage in Hollywood, defeating three-time championship winners Australia SailGP team and multi-finalist ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team in the event final race. Los Gallos', the Spanish team's much loved nickname, first win came after a number of changes were made within the team including former flight trimmer Diego Botin being appointed as team driver at the end of Season 3 and a new CEO announced at the beginning of this season, Tony Alquézar.

Speaking in the latest episode of Racing on the Edge, Alquézar said: "The talent is there and what I am trying to do is help them excel and motivate them to be as ambitious as they can be."

Alquézar isn't alone in seeing the potential of the Spain SailGP Team. Russell Coutts, SailGP CEO, said in the lead up to the first-ever LA event: "The Spanish team is absolutely stacked with talent and I've always said it's not a matter of 'if', it's 'when' they break through. I'm convinced they have the talent to compete at the very top level."

And break through they did, qualifying for the final in dramatic fashion. With seconds to spare, Spain squeezed into the final after winning fleet race four and finishing ninth in fleet race five to eliminate Phil Robertson's Canada SailGP Team from the top three."

Botin approached the start to the final race with a strategy that positioned his team best in relation to the Los Angeles wind conditions. Tom Slingsby, driver of the Australia SailGP Team, said: "We could see the wind line a couple of meters ahead of our bow line, and the closer we would get, the further it would move, the wind wasn't coming to us and it was really frustrating."

Wind patterns were shifting quickly and all three teams were surpassing one another on the leaderboard just as rapidly. "Anything can happen in conditions like these," said Botin.

Nicole van der Velden, Spain's strategist, said: "Vamos is an important word for us on the boat. When there is a lot of 'Vamos, Vamos, Vamos' that's when we all know we need to get it going."

The episode finishes with Botin saying: "To win is very special because it's been very hard to lose. But when you look around and win with your people by your side and see everyone sharing it with us, it's the best feeling you could ever experience."

The episode is now live on The Dock, SailGP's free fan loyalty program powered by Oracle Fusion Applications and built on NEAR protocol - the league's blockchain partner. The Dock allows SailGP fans to access and engage with unique and exclusive SailGP content and in doing so, earn points that can be redeemed for exclusive rewards.

The third event of SailGP Season 4 takes place on September 9-10 at the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, ahead of a European swing that includes the return of SailGP to Taranto, Italy and fan-favorite destination Andulacia-Cadíz, Spain, which saw record crowds in Season 3.

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