[FFVoile] – 10/08/2021
What could be better, at the beginning of autumn, than a small trip to Andalusia? Cádiz, the ancient and multicultural city, will be the host city of the Sailing Grand Prix of Spain, the last European event of the season 2. The eight international teams, led by Kassir from Nathan Outridge and his Japanese clan, meet at the Spanish Arena on Saturday and Sunday. On the French side, Quentin Delapiere will make his debut at the helm of the French F50.
We are no longer in the Mediterranean because we have to cross the Strait of Gibraltar from the Big Blue to reach this rocky shale open to the Atlantic Ocean. In the bay of this city that was the home of Christopher Columbus, the debates will take place between the eight international teams, all regrouped to try to intervene on the podium occupied today by the Japanese, American and Australian winners Season 1.
Hierarchy still fragile
Sixth of eight acts of season 2 – only Australia to remain in mid-December and San Francisco at the end of March 2022 – will the Spanish Grand Prix allow one of the teams to take the final blow? Nothing is certain. So far, none of them have managed to achieve a stunning breakup. With the exception of the New Zealanders and the Danes, everyone managed to qualify for the final. The record was held by the Australians from Tom Slingsby, who reached the finals four times, ahead of the Japanese and Americans (3) followed by the French, Spaniards and British (2). Two teams share the most wins: the Japanese, who are on top overall, and the Australian, who are third nonetheless. All the crew also suffered poor performance, which left the arrangement as fragile as the F50’s flight in light air. Mathematically, everyone can still dream of merging a set of aces, the one who will face each other in San Francisco in the Grand Final.
A new beginning for the French
Alongside the France SailGP team, new pilot Quentin Delapierre is making his mark in the Gulf of Cadiz. While waiting to see his first edges in the showdown Friday (the practice races), Saturday and Sunday, the Nacra17 specialist, eighth in the last Tokyo Olympics (with Manon Audinet) begins to adjust to his new world.
Two weeks ago, we headed to Ireland with Leigh McMillan and François Morvan for a day and a half in the simulator. “These sessions were very valuable in learning about the boat’s controls, since there are physical buttons all around, but also in understanding the timing of each maneuver and working to communicate with the wing trimmer and cruise controller. My goal is not to do that I change anything in their usual performance and I adapt myself”, says Quentin. Located in Cadiz since last Thursday, the young helmsman got to know the technical team and took part in assembling the F50. But it was yesterday, Monday, that Quentin found himself in the deep sea, marking his first navigation in 15 knots of wind and a bad hunk. “I believe this number one navigator will remain in my head for life!” Enthusiastically trusts. “This boat is crazy, you go crazy fast, wondering how all the systems work, it was amazing! First we did simple things, straight line, then sent some maneuvers so I could integrate the sequences well. I tried to apply myself in calling, in calls (instructions, decision making) so that they trust me and can follow me on every lap, every movement of the boat. In the end, we did some starts. I wanted to put intensity around a fast track to realize what it was like and not be criticized when the boat races start. In In the end, I think things went well!”
The sailing will continue throughout the week. Friday, the traditional training rehearsal, before the competition kicks off on Saturday at 4.30 pm.
If it is still too early to talk about the weather, it is likely that the turbulent autumn weather that has erupted in Europe in recent days and revives the game in the Gulf of Cadiz …
The sixth man is the sixth woman
There is something new in the sixth Grand Prix. SailGP has just gone one step further in favor of diversity. After the teams are committed to integrating the female sailors, they will now have their place on board as the sixth crew. Among the French, Amélie Riou will open this new arrangement: she will take an active part in all training and regatta in Cadiz.
Protecting nature in the foreground
SailGP also pursues its mission to the environment through the Race for the Future programme. Cadiz, the sea and port city, is already doing a great deal in this direction. SailGP is partnering with Life Blue Natura, a project stemming from a European program to combat climate change, that campaigns for ‘blue carbon’. In collaboration with the University of Cadiz, Life Blue Natura will be the operator of several awareness campaigns on the importance of marine ecosystems (seagrass, algae and mangroves) among the SailGP teams and 120 schoolchildren in Cadiz. During the regattas, a campaign to observe marine mammals will also be organized.
Cadiz is known in France as the starting point of the Discovery Route record, heading to San Salvador, in the Caribbean (the island where Christopher Columbus landed in 1492). As a crew, this record is held by two France SailGP team members: Thierry Doillard and François Morvan (with Spindrift in 2013). Cadiz is also one of the high places for Olympic sailing, where many international tournaments are organized. One of the most recent, the RS:X World Championships, provided a podium for French figure skater Charlene Bacon, shortly before her performance at the Tokyo Olympics (silver medalist).
How to track the Grand Prix of Spain?
On Saturdays and Sundays, from 4.30pm to 6.00pm, commentary on the regattas will be live on Canal + Sport by Helen Cogol and her consultant Frédéric Le Beutrec, a wonderful multi-body specialist.
APRS Provisional General Classification 5 Business
1- Japan / Nathan Outridge / 37 points
2- United States / Jimmy Spiethl / 35 points
3- Australia / Tom Slingsby / 35 points
4- Great Britain / Ben Ainsley / 32 points
5- Spain / Phil Robertson / 31 points
6- New Zealand / Peter Berling / 30 points
7- Denmark / Nikolai Seihsted / 28 points
8- France / Quentin Delabier / 28 points
By: SailGP France
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