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Foils Are Out as SailGP Arrives in Force

If you’ve been driving by or sailing on the Bay this week, you must have noticed that the SailGP fleet is now out and practicing for this coming weekend’s SailGP — Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix San Francisco. This is the final showdown for the $1 million in prize money to be awarded to the winning team at the conclusion of this 2021/22 season here on San Francisco Bay.

Things started out with some excitement as the teams took to the water on Monday — the American SailGP team capsized during training. All the sailors were safe, including Red Bull athlete and big-wave surfer Kai Lenny, who was along for the ride. The team’s F50 catamaran sustained minimal damage and was sailed back to the dock. Apparently the cause was a systems failure aboard the boat.

SailGP Team USA is one of two teams who have already clinched a spot in Sunday’s winner-take-all Grand Final race, where they will square off against the Australians and an as-yet-to-be-named third team for the season championship title.

SailGP Team USA
Team USA took a swim on the week’s first practice day.
© 2022 Bob Martin for SailGP

Warm-up problems aside, the real question is, can someone upset Tom Slingsby and the Australian team, who have had a long, steady run at the top of the leaderboard? To sort this out, five fleet races will lead up to the three-team final. On points, Australia and the United States are already guaranteed a spot in the finals, with Nathan Outteridge and the Japan SailGP team a leading contender for the third spot. For more detailed insights into how the championship works, click here.

Australia SailGP Team
The million-dollar question is, “Who can beat the Australian SailGP team?”
© 2022 Ricardo Pinto for SailGP
SailGP Practice Days
The SailGP practice day looked like a great day for sailing.
© 2022 Sam Greenfield for SailGP

The idea of foiling had been around for some time, but it was the 2013 America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay that put foil sailing into the mainstream. From kiteboards on the Cityfront to the America’s Cup and everything in between, the world of sailing was lifted into the third dimension by the 2013 Cup. Now Russell Coutts and a league of sailing all-stars are in town for the final showdown of Season 2. It should be fun to watch from land or sea. Learn more and get tickets here.

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