Sir Russell Coutts led the skippers briefing just a few hours before the nine SailGP Teams take to the waters of Plymouth Sound for the third event of the SailGP 2021-22 league.
With undoubtably Tom Slingsby and his Team Australia once again favourites after winning the first two events, there has been plenty of action in the other teams as they look for ways to break Slingsby’s winning streak.
Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain team, have it all to do here in Plymouth, hoping to build on their improved performance in Bermuda and Chicago to take a first win since Bermuda 2021.
Ainslie is tied in second place with the new Canada team, who have stormed the leader board with Driver Phil Robertson and Wing Trimmer Chris Draper forming a potent combination at the heart of the Canadian team.
Those two teams sit just three points off the Aussie leaders and five points ahead of New Zealand and Denmark, all are capable of pulling off a win here.
Multi world champion and Olympic gold and silver medallist Jo Aleh has joined Pete Burling’s New Zealand team as strategist for this event, raising the prospects of a less erratic performance from the Kiwi team.
And further back there are also likely to be some surprises.
Jimmy Spithill’s U.S. Team will be aiming to regain some credibility after the disaster in Chicago, where they sailed with new software that failed to come up to task and caused more problems than it solved.
If they have the flight control issues fixed expect Spithill to be going for broke to catch the leading group.
Another unknown are the Swiss team who sit at the bottom of the table with just four points.
‘Gun for Hire’ Nathan Outteridge AUS, has joined the Swiss SailGP team at the Plymouth event this weekend. Whether his influence can turn things around in just a couple of days is unlikely, but he has been sailing with them in practice and will be a steadying figure once the racing starts.
Significant ticket sales mean Plymouth could see the biggest onshore crowd so far at a SailGP event, which could just be the motivation Ainslie needs . . . He won’t want to let them down.
Great Britain SailGP Team for day 1
Driver: Ben Ainslie
Wing Trimmer: Iain Jensen
Flight Controller: Luke Parkinson
Grinder: Matt Gotrel
Grinder: Nick Hutton
Strategist: Hannah Diamond