The Japan SailGP team has moved to the top of the SailGP Season Championship after an incredible performance in Saint-Tropez beating the United States and Spain. They competed in the Final of the France Sail Grand Prix and the United States is now in second position in the overall ranking and Spain in fifth.
Nathan Outteridge, nicknamed the ‘wind whisperer’ has lived up to his name dominating the light-air conditions and showing the incredible consistency across the weekend in France leading the japanese team.
The United States appeared to be the favourites heading into the Final as they dominated the rankings after five Fleet Races. However, Japan’s performance in the winner-takes-all format earned them victory.
As light-air conditions affected racing on Day 1, the teams decided to debut their 29 meter wing, which underwent rigorous testing. This ensured the F50 catamarans had sufficient power during the race. As Outteridge was one of the few athletes who had practiced with the wing ahead of racing, Japan’s team felt ahead of the game winning their first Fleet Race of the day.
Billy Besson’s team struggled on home waters and finished seventh, ahead of Australia. However, they rank eighth in the SailGP rankings. Great Britain ranked ahead of France in sixth and failed to win in the opening Fleet Race of the event, to Sir Ben Ainslie’s disappointment.
On other notes New Zealand was determined to qualify for the Final after impressive results but a last place in the final Fleet Race saw them missing out on the Final by just one point.
“We didn't’ really manage to catch any lucky breaks to get back into the race so it’s a bit disappointing to be in such a good position going into that last fleet race and then to miss out on the final but that’s yacht racing for you.” -Peter Burling, driver of New Zealand’s SailGP Team.
The next event on the SailGP’s global championship calendar is in the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz, from the 9th to the 10th of October. The F50 catamarans continue their podium race to become the best SailGP team in season 2021.