SAILGP: UNITED STATES CAPSIZES AHEAD OF GRAND FINAL

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UNITED STATES CAPSIZES AHEAD OF GRAND FINAL; BIG WAVE SURFING LEGEND KAI LENNY ONBOARD


The United States SailGP Team capsized today on San Francisco Bay during a training session for this weekend’s SailGP season final, the upcoming Mubadala United Sail Grand Prix, March 26-27.

All athletes were safe and accounted for following the incident with the team’s F50 catamaran sustaining minimal damage. Big wave surfing legend Kai Lenny was also onboard during the event, with surfing champion Jamie O’Brien nearby on the team’s chase boat, witnessing the capsize firsthand.

The culprit for the capsize was determined to be a systems issue on the F50 that caused the wing sail to not invert properly when Spithill initiated a maneuver, causing the cutting-edge raceboat to heel over and subsequently capsize right in front of Alcatraz.

“It was insane, we went so fast,” said Lenny. “I don’t know if anyone really realizes watching from land, just how intense it is on those boats.

“There is so much going on, you’re pulling three Gs of force from side to side. The boat is a living breathing creature, and you can feel the vibration of it as you go through the wave chop and the gusts of wind.

“That whole experience was absolutely so fun and just as I was getting used to running across the trampoline from side to side, we ended up capsizing.”

United States SailGP Team CEO and Driver Jimmy Spithill, best known in San Francisco for masterminding the 2013 America’s Cup comeback on the Bay, stepped off the water with a smile after sailing the F50 back to the dock following the capsize.

“[Kai] was the perfect guy for a situation like this,” Spithill said. “Actually when I looked back at Kai to ask if he was all right, he was trying to adjust his GoPro to get the perfect shot.”

Following system checks overnight, the team is expected to resume training on Tuesday in preparation for the Season Final this weekend where they will be racing on San Francisco Bay’s spectator-friendly racecourse just off Marina Green.

The American team is one of two teams who have already clinched a spot in Sunday’s winner-take-all, Grand Final race where they will square off against the Australian team and an as-to-be-named third team for the season championship title.

Limited tickets remain for premium on-land viewing near Marina Green or on-water experiences to see the thrilling action unfold on San Francisco Bay between the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Racing begins at 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.