Spain scraping into the LA final will make experienced teams realize every point matters

by Miranda Blazeby, Digital Editor SailGP

Spain’s nail-biting entry into LA’s three-boat, winner-takes-all Final and consequent victory will make the league’s most experienced realize that ‘every point matters’, SailGP’s commentary team has said.

Botin’s young Spanish team scraped into the Final by just one-point after finishing ninth in the fifth and final fleet race. Had they finished just one place behind, or had Canada finished one position ahead, it would have been Canada that would have proceeded into the Final instead.

The nail-biting fight to the final three was ‘the exciting showdown that everyone looks forward to,’ commentator Emily Nagel said. “It really was a fight to the final seconds of the race.”

The fact that Phil Robertson’s Canada missed out on a place in the Final by just one point also shows, Nagel said, ‘that teams really need to be fighting for every single point.’

Fellow commentators Todd Harris and Stevie Morrison agreed, with Harris suggesting Spain’s inaugural win could signify the ‘changing of the guard’.

He pointed to the veteran teams of the USA, Emirates GBR and New Zealand, which placed in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. Instead, the relatively new teams of Spain, ROCKWOOL Denmark and Canada all sat inside the top four, accompanied by Season 3 champions Australia.

“It was great to see new teams rising up and doing well with both the Spanish and the Danes making it to the Final,” Harris said. “Los Angeles was a breath of fresh air from that perspective”.

He agreed that Spain scraping into the Final by the skin of their teeth would ramp up the pressure on teams to scrap from every position. “If you’re at the back of the fleet, there’s more pressure now to just get one extra point,” he said. “Teams can’t just settle for 8th or 9th – they need every point.”

Morrison meanwhile agreed that the rise of Spain, ROCKWOOL Denmark and Canada ‘shows the growth of the league’. “The Spanish upped their game, won the best start and held off the Danish when they were eating into their lead – that’s not luck,” he said.

The overall Championship leaderboard currently sees Spain sitting in second, ROCKWOOL Denmark in third and Canada in fourth – a drastically different story from last season’s leaderboard. But Nagel said fans will enjoy ‘seeing more of a mix’ fighting at the top with Season 3 champions Australia.

“We’ve got more teams winning and it’s harder to predict who’s going to make the Final,” she said. “It also means that every team will be fighting tooth and nail for each position and that’s going to make it even more exciting for everyone watching.”

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