The Spain Sail Grand Prix kicked off in Cadiz with a win for the home team but a tough day for Emirates GBR SailGP Team.
Crowds lined the Bay in the Andalucian city to watch the 10 F50’s battle it out on the tight racecourse. The first race of the day was delayed as Emirates GBR experienced technical issues with the wing screen before the start, which impacted their practice time. When Race 1 got underway, Switzerland was immediately disqualified after they tried to fit between a marker and ROCKWOOL Denmark at the start line, leaving almost no room between them and the Danish F50. Diego Botin’s Spain came out on top in that race, being cheered across the finish line by Spanish fans in the crowd.
There was also a dramatic end to the first race with Canada, France and Emirates GBR the last three boats fighting it out to cross the line. France overtook Emirates GBR and Canada at the last moment to take 7th place, but their effort was not rewarded as the umpires deemed they had not left enough room for Emirates GBR and they were given a penalty that dropped them to 9thposition.
Quentin Delapierre’s French Team came back raring to go in Race 2 though, sailing consistently at the front of the pack to take the win, followed by Australia and USA. Emirates GBR had a tricky start and struggled to get up the fleet in the lighter winds and finished in 10th. Race 3 saw Tom Slingsby’s Australia take the win, with Denmark in second and Spain in third. Emirates GBR finished in sixth position.
Speaking after the three races, Emirates GBR Driver and CEO Sir Ben Ainslie said: “It was a really tough day for us. We had some issues but ultimately our biggest issue was we couldn’t get off the start line in good shape and that makes it really hard on that tight racecourse and in that amount of wind.
“When you start like we did, you’re in a very difficult position, we were in this spot where we were 5th or 6th in Mark One and then you take all the bad air from the lead boats. It was frustrating for the Team but that’s sport.
“It was a difficult day but we will try and figure out what we were doing wrong and come back fighting tomorrow. The main thing for us is to come out tomorrow and try and have a couple of good races and sign off on a good note for this event and then look towards Dubai and the rest of the Season.”
Race Day 2 kicks off at 14:30 BST on Sunday and UK viewers can follow all the action live on ITVX.