Light wind and tight course leads to tough day for Emirates GBR

New Driver Giles Scott said It was “a tough day” for the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team as light wind and a super tight course made for tricky conditions on Race Day 1 at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

Two reaching marks were added to the course which made it a slalom start and difficult to get round Mark One. Due to the lighter air, all 10 Teams were using the 29m wing with crew size reduced from six people on-board to four. The combination of the conditions and the course meant it was difficult to get ahead of the pack, with Team’s struggling to pick up speed and find room to overtake. Emirates GBR had some good starts in Race 1 and Race 3, but it finished all three fleet races in seventh position, and ended the day in 8th place overall. Spain is at the top of the leaderboard after Race Day 1, after managing to come back from a last place finish in Race 1, to then win both Race 2 and 3.

Speaking after his SailGP racing debut, Scott said: “It certainly was a tough day. The light wind and the F50s getting so close with the double reach configuration and the tight course made it tricky for us.

“It’s really tight racing and you’re in a fight all the way round the course. We finished seventh in all three races but I think we’re certainly capable of better. There will be a lot for us to review tonight but tomorrow is a new day.”
It was the first official race for Scott in the Driver role, after replacing Sir Ben Ainslie who said he thought it was “time for the next generation to come through”.

With the 29m wing and just four people on-board the F50s, the Wing Trimmers had very important roles. Emirates GBR’s Iain Jensen described it as “a tricky day”.

“We didn’t have much wind and it was interesting with the two reaches and close interactions with other boats,” he said.

“The fleet was really condensed and there were a lot of battles going on. It was Giles’ first day of proper racing and he was sailing the boat really well. I don’t think the results really reflect how we were sailing. There are a lot of positives from today and we will be looking for a better day tomorrow.