Great start for the F50 Victoria in the second regatta of the SailGP season, which takes place this weekend in the waters of Taranto (Italy). The team skippered by Phil Robertson occupies the third position in the general after the dispute of the three tests, surpassed only by the United States of Jimmy Spithill and Japan of Nathan Outteridge, who lead the table, both with 21 points by the 17 of Spain . France is fourth to 4 points from the podium positions that will give access to the grand final this Sunday. Before that, there will be two tests that will determine the three teams that will fight for the title in the Italian Grand Prix.
The weather forecasts for little wind were fulfilled on this first day and the intensity of 9 knots was barely exceeded; This made the regatta very difficult for the crews to manage, due to the danger of falling into wells – areas with no wind. There were times when these ships, used to exceeding 40 or 50 knots of speed, sailed at just 20.
This caused the ships to change their configuration from five to three crew members. In the Spanish case, those chosen by the coach, Xabi Fernández, were Phil Robertson (cane), Florian Trittel (wing trimmer) and Diego Botin (flight controller) who also assumed the role of grinder as there were fewer crew on board.
From less to more in the three regattas
The first test was full of alternatives. New Zealand was the first to take over being the fastest on the cross, while the Spanish team came out in the middle of the line with few speed options. It was necessary to look for alternatives and, together with Japan and Denmark, they chose to go the opposite way to the rest of the fleet. The F50 Victoria sailed in sixth position for much of the tour, but on the last beat it was able to rally to fourth, crossing the finish line behind the United States, New Zealand and Japan.
The second test of the day seemed like it would be a carbon copy for the Spanish, who came out to leeward of the fleet in sixth position. While Japan took the head from the beginning, since it only endangered Nathan Outteridge’s team after seeing how the F50 Victoria had made a great comeback, surpassing the rest of the fleet and taking advantage of the fact that the United States, which at that time was second and apparently sailing without too many problems, he chose a bad board through which he had to give way to the Spaniards who were arriving with speed at the last buoy.
Against all odds, the F50 Victoria played everything for everything with the Japanese in a last stretch of heart attack where the Japanese ship would end up crossing first and, just a second later, the Spanish would do it, arriving with a point more than speed, but with ten meters to go before he could add his first victory of the season at the SailGP circuit. In third position, Great Britain entered, without Ben Ainslie and with Paul Goodison at the wheel.
In the third and last test of the day, the United States, with Jimmy Spithill in the lead, gave no one a choice, he was the one that best sailed with practically 100% of flight during the entire route. France, who had been in low-key positions during the previous rounds, came in second and Japan was third. The Spanish F50 Victoria crossed the finishing line fourth. Of the three races, this was the one with the fewest position changes.
Xabi Fernández, coach of Spain SailGP Team, declared after the end of the race: “We are very happy, the day has gone well. The goal is to be in the top three and we have achieved it. But we also have a bittersweet feeling, as we are sailing with a better level than the position we have obtained, both in a straight line and in maneuvers. Hopefully we can do well tomorrow and finish in the final. Realistically we have possibilities, we have to go out and do it very well. “
For the Sunday, second and last day of the Italian Grand Prix, the forecast is that the wind will blow with a little more intensity on the coast of Taranto, with which we could once again see the entire crews aboard the flying catamarans F50.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism