The Great Britain SailGP Team were dealt a huge blow in the Final of the Spain Sail Grand Prix as they capsized just seconds into the winner-takes-all race – while leading!
Ben Ainslie’s team started with real pace in the strong winds in Cadiz, but as they were streaking out ahead of Final rivals Australia and the United States, their F50 keeled over in the rough conditions.
This ended the Brits’ final immediately, and thankfully all six athletes onboard were accounted for shortly after the incident.
Spain had earlier capsized in the strong winds, pitchpoling just over an hour before racing started to be ruled out of the entire second day of their home event.
“Today was definitely on the edge. You’re really in avoidance mode,” CEO and Driver Jimmy Spithill said, referring to the 20+ knot winds and sea state. “As we all came off the start line [in the final race] and saw Ben do a huge nose dive, we bowed out to avoid them, which caused us to crash. It triggered our emergency stop systems, effectively shutting the boat down. While we restarted the systems, Tom [Slingsby, Australia SailGP Team] was already far down the line.”
Regardless, the team’s consistent result saw the Americans increase their point total in the overall league standings, further cementing their grip on the overall podium. Only the top three teams at the end of the season will have the chance to race for the Grand Final at the United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco, March 26-27, 2022.