The latest episode of Racing on the Edge, in partnership with Rolex, is undoubtedly the most lively and significant in the history of SailGP’s behind-the-scenes docuseries. It covers the transformation of the USA SailGP Team under new owners – spanning the world of sport, tech and entertainment – the subsequent axing of Jimmy Spithill, the ongoing feud between Canada and Spain, new tensions between Emirates Great Britain and New Zealand, before finishing with a dramatic exclusive revelation.
Before all that, the episode begins with the USA SailGP Team left shaken and shocked after the first day of the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto when flight controller Hans Henken sustained an injury and was taken to hospital. The episode goes behind the scenes during the incident that sees Taylor Canfield come in to replace him, the man who had long known that he would be ousting Spithill as driver of the new USA SailGP Team.
Events then flash back to the second event of Season 4, the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix, providing exclusive insight into the USA team sale negotiations and insight into the new investors. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is where does this land Spithill – the CEO and driver who delivered USA its first win of Season 4 at the Spain Sail Grand Prix last time out – with all of these changes?
Spithill said: “It became pretty apparent that not only is this transaction great for the USA team and US sailing, but it’s actually produced and given me the controlling interest in entering an Italian team on the startline of Season 5.”
Spithill joined the USA team when they sat in last place at the bottom of the leaderboard and has now positioned the team within the podium, at third place, in the overall standings as the league enters the midway point of the season with back-to-back events in UAE.
Russell Coutts, CEO of SailGP, said: “He’s leaving the team in a great position and leaving the next team with a challenge to see if they can match what he’s doing. I think it’s great.”
The birth of Australian CEO and driver Tom Slingsby’s first child is imminent and leaves the Flying Roo in need of a driver with the three-time SailGP champion on paternity leave for the first event in the UAE, the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas on December 9-10.
Rumors have been flying around in regards to Slingsby’s replacement. Will it be flight controller Jason Waterhouse or even Nathan Outteridge, the current coach of the Switzerland team or, as SailGP fans voted on The Dock, strategist Nina Curtis. The timing however also conveniently coincides with Spithill being shown the door by the US team.
As the episode closes Spithill says to Slingsby: “I’ll do it. But here’s the kicker, you have to agree to naming your son Jimmy.”
Catch the latest Racing on the Edge episode here.
SailGP’s back-to-back UAE events begin next weekend with the sixth event of the world’s most exciting race on water – the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas – in Mina Rashid from December 9-10. The league then heads to Abu Dhabi on January 13-14 for the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Head to SailGP.com for tickets.