Italian SailGP

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8 giu 2021

Rudder woe at Italian SailGP stop after hitting submerged object near finish.


The United States SailGP Team's bid to win the second Italian leg of the 2021/2022 series in Taranto ended in dramatic fashion when the team's F50 catamaran struck an unidentified, submerged object on the penultimate leg of the final race.

Here is all you need to know:

- The SailGP series is a fan-centric, inshore racing competition that takes place in some of the most iconic harbours around the globe and offers the sport's largest monetary prize of $1 million.

- Jimmy Spithill's team had won the start of the three-team final race in Italy and extended its lead around the course, averaging 10kp/h faster than Japan and Spain who also qualified for the Finals.

- Unfortunately, when the team raced towards the final bottom mark of the course, the F50's carbon fiber wing-tipped rudder hit something underwater with enough impact to break it.

- Video review revealed that the rudder shaft held together until the team went around the mark where it separated causing the race boat to abruptly leap into the air before slowing to a crawl.

- SailGP's on-water Marine Mammal Observation team went back to the area and, after an extensive search, found no evidence that marine mammals were involved in the incident.

- Two-time America's Cup winner Spithill, 41, explained: "Extremely tough way to end it. We were really sailing a perfect race, and all we had to do was round the mark and head to the finish. Now I know how a Formula 1 driver feels when you have two corners to go, and you have an engine fail. You can't control having a significant impact under the water."

- The team now looks ahead to the next race on the SailGP Season 2 calendar, the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth, UK, July 17-18.

- The Australian legend added: “The team needs to keep their heads up because it was great to respond and bounce back after what happened in Bermuda and we had put ourselves in a position to win."