The first training races of the new leg of one of the world's fastest sailing regattas will take place in New York City on June 21 (starting from midnight on June 22, Moscow). The crews of «flying» catamarans F50 will finish the day with a match race. These starts will be doubly important for all six competing teams as they had to forego individual training sessions on Thursday, June 20 due to thunderstorms.
Organizers have chosen Upper Bay at the mouth of the Hudson River for the event . The participating teams will be treated to a whimsical wind chill, skyscrapers on the shore, a strong river current and a tidal surge at the same time. Five fleet races and a final match race are scheduled over the two main days of the regatta.
«The forecast for tomorrow promises the windiest day we've seen so far at SailGP. At the same time it has the most compact racing area here. It's going to be good, it's going to be fast», the American captain, Rome Kirby, anticipates.
On both the practice and first race days the winds will be in the region of 20 knots. Teams will be well positioned to push their foil catamarans to speeds in excess of 50 knots.
«We sailors are a little nervous but for the fans it will be a sight like no other»," adds Team Australia captain Tom Slingsby.
Fans will be able to watch the race from the shore in an area near the Brookfield Place skyscraper in Manhattan's Battery Park City. The route will be so close to shore that boaters will likely be able to hear the cheers. For their own convenience, however, big screens will be set up in the racing village, where they will be screened and professionally commentated. The awards ceremony will be held in the same place.
In addition, during the racing there will be three boats along the perimeter of the route, on board of which those wishing to watch the competition will also be available. Private boats will anchor alongside them.
«The New York City leg is» the equator of the SailGP series. Even before the races started, the organizers decided to make it a bit special. This is where the 12.5 kilogram trophy was unveiled, which, along with a $1 million check, the best team will receive after the series finale in Marseille inSeptember.
«We wanted to create something that combined the extreme drama, extreme energy and extreme racing characteristics of SailGP, which takes sailing to a new level. We asked for a design that would embody the power and passion of ahead of the times boats and world class sailors. We admire how Kevin Baker and his team at Thomas Lyte have succeeded in creating something so impactful that accurately reflects that vision»," said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts duringthe presentation .
The team captains viewed the award with interest but none of them risked touching it prematurely. The fear of pushing their luck was too great.
After the first two legs inSydney andSan Francisco the USAteam was in fourth place in the standings.They are 11 points behind third placeEnglish team. The first «home round» allowed the Americans to move up two places at once.
Only time will tell if the home waters of New York will help them climb into the top three. However, this time they will be native in the truest sense of the word. Rhode Island is the birthplace of Kirby.
The USA national team rivals also have a lot to fight for. It's important for the Brits to retain their place in the top three. «For the second placed Japanese team this round is a chance to take revenge on the Australians, who at the last minute» stole their victory in San Francisco. The burden of responsibility will obviously be on Team Australia themselves: will they keep their promises this time after securing top honours in both of the last two rounds? Finally, the French and Chinese teams, relegated to fifth and sixth, will of course also try to improve their position.
All these questions will be answered after the conclusion of the New York round on June 23.