Dramatic Capsize and US Boat Withdrawal from Bermuda SailGP Regatta

US SailGP Team Has a Tough Day in Bermuda, Withdraws From Regatta

After a dramatic capsize dumped his crew into the tepid waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound, US SailGP helmsman Taylor Canfield shook his head in resignation and vowed to learn from his crew’s mistakes as the high flying SailGP foiling catamaran circuit now heads to the final three events of the 12-race season with the US boat virtually eliminated from the winner-take all $2 million finale in San Francisco in September.

The US team sits in 7th place, 16 points out of a top-three finish needed for entry in the San Francisco winner takes all $2 million dollar finale July 13-14.

“We are definitely behind the 8 ball in our quest for the finale,” said Canfield. On scene commentators say the US team needs to do exceptionally well in the next three races and they need the teams ahead of them to stumble so they can make up ground.

US SailGP team racing catamaran capsize while practice sailing in Bermuda. Photo by SailGP

Data provided by the United States F50 defined the cause of the capsize as ‘user error.’ Specifically, the capsize occurred when wing trimmer Victor Diaz de Leon pressed a button which inverts the wing by accident when he was positioned on the starboard side of the boat. Reflecting on the incident, Diaz de Leon said he was ‘disappointed’ in himself for making the error. It is understood that Diaz de Leon’s intention was to flatten the wing, not to invert it.

“While operating the wing, I chose the wrong function on my control panel, which caused our boat to flip. It was very scary and I’m thankful all my teammates are safe,” he said.

Team CEO and strategist Mike Buckley added that the team “knew right away what went wrong” but said “mistakes happen at any level… We compete as a team and whatever the outcome is - whether it’s what we want - we win and lose as a team and we learn from it.”

sailboat capsize bermuda
SailGP racing sailboat capsize sailing competition Bermuda. Photo by SailGP

Damage caused to the U.S. F50’s wing was too significant to repair in time for official racing, which meant the team was unable to compete in Bermuda.

The Bermuda event was won by the Spanish Team in convincing fashion with New Zealand and Australia finishing second and third.

New Zealand heads to the next event in Halifax June 1-2 atop the season-long leaderboard with perpetual winner Australia trailing by 10 points.

Australia helmsman Tom Slingsby, who is also one of the boat drivers of the US entry into the 37th America’s Cup on tap for Barcelona, Spain, later this fall, vows to reclaim the Aussie magic as the SailGP fleet moves to the next three events.

“We’ll be there at the end,” he said. “We won the fleet racing in Bermuda. And we won it all in Sydney. We just couldn’t get started in that finale here in Bermuda.”

To catch all the action on the upcoming SailGP events, go to sailgp.com.
By Craig Ligibel

Find more sailboat racing news here.