, 2022-06-19 19:10:21,
Slingsby’s Australia SailGP team take their fifth event win in a row at SailGP Chicago, while Canada deliver a surprise
‘A box office show’ is how Ben Ainslie described the US SailGP venue at Navy Pier Chicago, this weekend. It’s hard to imagine a better venue for Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts’ ambitious series, which aims to take the ‘stadium sailing’ concept to the next level.
A spectacular city skyline, the bustling Navy Pier spectator area and a crowd of die-hard sports fans (it seems every other person in Chicago is wearing their favourite team’s shirt). Add in glorious sunshine and Lake Michigan could hardly have delivered more.
The only thing the so-called ‘Windy City’ was missing was wind – at least on the final day. While Saturday delivered moderate but fully foiling conditions within the confines of the Navy Pier breakwater, for today’s final races the race organisers had to move the whole show further offshore.
That’s not a decision to be taken lightly – the crowds packed on the bleachers had paid $185.00 per head for the privilege of a unique spectator experience based on the promise of so-close-you-can-touch it sailing action. But despite the decision to sail with a light winds set up for the one-design fleet – which includes light airs foils, rudders, and a whopping 29m high light airs wingsail – for raceable conditions the whole course was moved outside the breakwater.
The decision proved to be a smart one and, despite a few touch downs during the first race of today, the three-boat grand final delivered a full foiling show.
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