USA victorious after injury leads to last-minute crew change for Emirates GBR

The final day of the Spain Sail Grand Prix began with a last-minute crew change for Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team after Strategist Hannah Mills OBE sustained a minor injury whilst preparing for racing to start.

Mills, the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time, rolled her ankle onboard the F50 an hour before racing started. No immediate medical treatment was needed but Emirates GBR Reserve Sailor Hannah Diamond raced in her place. Mills remained on the water on the Emirates GBR support boat for racing and was checked over by doctors once on-shore.

Mills said: “I was just running across the boat and I just rolled my ankle. I felt a click straight away and it was just pretty sore to start with. We obviously stopped straight away and the medical team came on quickly and got me off. We think it’s just an acute sprain, so hopefully a few days rest and back onboard for the next event in Dubai.”

Photo: Bob Martin for SailGP.

It was light winds again for the second day of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz and to compensate crew size was reduced from six to four. Emirates GBR’s Reserve Sailor Hannah Diamond jumped straight on to the grinding handles along with Luke Parkinson whilst Driver and CEO Sir Ben Ainslie was on the wheel and Iain Jensen as Wing Trimmer.

Emirates GBR had a good start to Race 4 of the event and managed to get up on the foils whilst other Teams struggled. Sir Ben Ainslie’s crew managed to maintain third place for most of the race but unfortunately came off the foils as they had to give way to Spain and dropped down the pack, finishing in seventh place. The race was won by ROCKWOOL Denmark, with New Zealand in second and United States in third.

In Race 5, ROCKWOOL Denmark had a great start and led the fleet throughout the race, managing to foil in the clear wind while the other Teams struggled behind in the light wind and tight course. Danish Driver Nicolai Sehested managed to maintain the lead to take the win yet again, followed by Australia and Canada. The Event Final was between ROCKWOOL Denmark, Australia and United States. Jimmy Spithill’s American Team managed to seal the deal as they sailed across the finish line with an 800m lead.

Speaking after the event, Sir Ben Ainslie said he was “thankful” Hannah Mills was OK.

“She rolled her ankle during the warm-up for the racing which looked pretty painful and it was obviously a real shame for the Team because she’s so integral to our performance, particularly in these lighter, tricky airs.

“Hannah Diamond got straight on the boat and she did a brilliant job getting to grips with the boat handling and did a really nice job.”