Formula 1 sailing in weak winds has its dangers. It also happened in the Andalusian region from Cádiz to the SailGP elite at the weekend for the fifth event of the fourth season. The Danes were the strong team until the end, they shone with compelling starts and managed to get on the foil when others struggled to crawl around the barrels. Nikolai Sehestedt, Olympic champion Anne-Marie Rindum and their team had an impressive trip to the first division of the final.
“From Penalty to Victory”: Team USA win in front of Cadiz
But things got weird in the triple final between the Danes, Australia’s Tom Slingsby’s SailGP record winners and the American team led by Jimmy Spithill. First the Americans received a penalty because they jumped a course barrier before the start. Accordingly, they crossed the starting line, behind the dashing Danes and their Australian pursuers, who seemed to have already signed on. But suddenly both the leading teams fell into a deep slump. The Americans behind took advantage of this with a clever zip and a successful counterattack on the other side of the course.
The American team pulled within half a kilometer on the narrow track, almost a full lap. Jimmy Spithill, Taylor Canfield and co. were unable to catch up and took their first regatta win of the season. Meanwhile, the Danes and Australians had a heated battle for second place. But in spite of the slingsby attacks, the Danes would not allow salted butter to be taken from their bread. However, the Australians defended their lead in the season standings by finishing third at the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Denmark and the United States.
The game is more open. We’re getting better.” Eric Heil
Sebastian Vettel’s German sailing team became the latest newcomer to the professional league in Cadiz, Spain, finishing ninth. Helmsman Eric Heil and the Germany SailGB team managed to outrun the Swiss team around Sebastian Schneiter. “The sport is more open and we’re getting better,” said Eric Heil, whose team is still struggling to get the complex high-tech catamaran up and running in its first season, four months after its lightning-fast debut. June.
In fact, the German team was also seen in the top ranking at times. In the end, race results of 6, 9, 9, 8 and 8 were more relaxed on paper than they felt at times on the water. The German team continues to study. Another light wind weekend in Andalusia made the starts a challenge.
Sebastian Vettel visited his team in Cadiz
“The results were a bit painful. We didn’t get off to a good start, but we still have a lot of work to do. However, on Saturday we had the feeling that we finished one of the best days of racing so far,” said Eric Heil at Andalusia. The team consciously accepts the risks and co-racing team owner Sebastian Vettel was also in Cadiz this weekend.
The four-time Formula 1 world champion said: “It’s nice to be able to enjoy the weekend so close to the team again. Of course everyone in the team wants to achieve more, but this is only the fifth race. This weekend, how motivated they are and analyzing their performance immediately after the races. done and I saw again how they want to improve from race to race. Anna and Sophie did a great job and I’m sure things will continue to improve.
A young German sailor with a promising premiere
For the first time, young talents Anna Barth and Sophie Steinlein took turns at the Spanish SailGP, as skipper Kahena Kunze had to pass alongside 49erFX helmsman Martin Grell due to his current Olympic qualification. The German pair made the team through training in the SailGB Women’s Pathway Programme. Eric Heil said the young sailors showed promising potential.
As an added challenge, all teams had to overcome progressively reduced staff levels this weekend. Although the first of the five fleet races was contested with crews of six, races two and three were contested with only five. Sunday’s races four and five were run by only the final four.
One can only imagine how well the experienced teams who have been in the game since their first or second SailGP season coped with the short crew. With very little experience in a fleet of ten F50 catamarans, the Germany SailGP team had their hands full. But the results from Friday’s training day were encouraging. “We’re tied for fifth with fourth,” says Eric Heil.
The way up is steep, but we’re on it. Eric Hale
The 34-year-old knows his team will have to be patient and show the will to push for promotion. “We are working with an open mind this year. Learning, learning and learning is the only thing that matters. That’s why we consciously accept risks in order to train for certain situations again and again,” explains Eric Heil. He is also aware of the SailGP experience that all his opponents have over him: “The Australians have been sailing together for 15 years and are still a force in SailGP in their fourth year. As you can imagine.
Erik Heil and his 49er captain Thomas Plößel sailed in the same boat for 20 years when they won a second Olympic bronze medal in Enoshima in 2021. Eric Hale explains: “The Australians can do 70 per cent of what the F50 can do in SailGP. We are at five or ten percent. The way up is steep, but we’re on it.
Live coverage from the second and decisive day at the Spanish SailGB in Andalusia is back here:
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