US takes Cadiz

Jimmy Spithill’s United States stunned fans and rivals ROCKWOOL DEN and Australia by claiming a definitive victory in front of a packed shoreline in Cadiz at the Spain Sail Grand Prix.

Photography by SailGP

17 October 2023


The Americans battled back from a pre-start penalty to execute a calm and clinical race, stealing the lead from ROCKWOOL DEN on the second leg and stretching ahead by 300m+.

From there, the Americans stretched away, crossing the finish line with a full 2.30 minute lead over the Danes, who finished second.

It marks the United States’ first win since Saint-Tropez in Season 3 and comes after the team took a blow in Taranto – losing flight controller Hans Henken to injury.

Speaking after racing, Spithill said the race result was ‘a testament to the team’. “It doesn’t matter what position we’re in, the whole squad will just fight the entire way round.”


The US beat both rivals across all metrics – picking up the highest average speed of 32.7 km/h, highest 58 percent flight time and executing the fewest number of manoeuvres – just six. The Americans also sailed the shortest distance – a total of 4.9 km/h versus ROCKWOOL DEN’s 5.7km and Australia’s 6km.

The US’s success comes despite Spithill warning just days before racing began that the team would be ‘remaining realistic’ in Cadiz, describing the loss of flight controller Hans Henken as a ‘big blow’.

The results mean Australia remains on the hunt for its elusive first Season 4 win, while Nicolai Sehested’s crew has now made it into five Finals without ultimate success.

Speaking after racing, a dejected Tom Slingsby admitted he was ‘frustrated’ by the result, adding that Australia was ‘almost lapped’ by the United States. “It’s just one mistake and the race is over,” he said.

Sehested meanwhile was satisfied with his team’s second place finish, adding that the crew ‘didn’t put many feet wrong this weekend.”

Spithill’s crew scraped into the three-boat showdown ahead of New Zealand in a tense, 11th hour race to the Final. Reduced to four-person crews amid marginal foiling conditions, teams fought for every scrap of wind around the course.

ROCKWOOL DEN meanwhile had a flawless second day on the water, picking up both race wins and cruising into the Final with flying colours.

The refreshed season standings see Australia hang onto its Championship lead, while ROCKWOOL DEN moves into second place. The United States meanwhile soars up the leaderboard into third position.

The F50 fleet will next meet at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas 9 & 10 December.

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