The Spanish F50 suffers in the Bay of San Francisco in the grand final of the boats that fly | Sports

The British F50, in San Francisco Bay.
The British F50, in San Francisco Bay.Felix Diemer for SailGP (Felix Diemer for SailGP)

Rosalía sounds on the shore, that song of rhymes in -ura, tasty, burial, the brown pelicans scare away the seagulls and not even the famous sea lions dare to approach to the disgust of tourists like cameras ready. Even if you arrive without flowers in your hair in San Francisco, a Tesla awaits you at the airport and between the Golden Gate and Alcatraz Island, thugs with ships that look like skyscrapers drift at 80 per hour on two thin foils two meters above the sea like Marc Marquez-type bikers with a gigantic truck, a trailer, sticking to the buoys that float in the treacherous, wind-blown green waters of the Bay, to the childish glee of the fans in the stands, $10 a can of beer; 15, a plastic hamburger; behind him, the steep city slides up which old trams climb. Welcome to the SailGP Grand Final, where the best sailors let their hair down.

Sir Ben Ainslie, a four-time Olympic champion, was caught competing in Saint Tropez by the death of Elizabeth II. The British glory cried in public and pinned a black crepe to the jib of his F50. To the coronation of the heir, who finds him in San Francisco, he responds with a royal British flag on the sail and a first place, tied with Australia, after the first three races, those on Saturday at noon.

British mental acuity produces headlines like Coronation in San Francisco, British Double Coronation, The King is Ben and even more ingenious if possible, Big Ben the King. The two races on Sunday morning will decide which three teams will compete in the grand finale of the third season, the one in which the winner takes all, which is a one-time prize of one million dollars.

Tom Slingsby’s Australia, master of the bay currents, winds, waves and mists, and Peter Burling’s New Zealand, pilot of the last two Kiwi America’s Cup victories, have already qualified. Ainslie will play for third place with the Frenchman Quentin Delapierre, whom he leads by five points. Spain is still far away. Little by little, he gets used to the big leagues, that of Slingsby. “We have all had a path. For us, right now, being in the same races as these great sailors is an honor”, ​​says Diego Botín, the driver of the Spanish F50. “There is a path that we have to travel to be able to fight with them one on one, which we hope will be soon. They have a brutal career, they are excellent sailors, but these are new times and new things can also happen. All sports develop over time, everything changes and you have to know how to adapt. And that’s what we have to do, we have to work harder than anyone else to close that gap and the day we get there, we’ll never stop improving until we win.”

The Spain of Diego Botín –María Cantero, as a strategist; Joel Rodríguez, flight controller; Florian Trittel, trimmer; Joan Cardona, tactician and grinder, to the cranks, and Bernardo Freitas and Stewart Dodson, grinders in turns– started ninth and finished ninth. She last in the first two regattas, penultimate in the third. The F50 turned out well despite how complicated, reflected the Cantabrian pilot, what was driving the foils of big waves with which the boats were equipped. And then, as if some mysterious force had drained from him or sucked all the energy out of the sails, he would begin to slow down, to disappear. Only in the third race, a sprint of pride, the need not to finish ninth again, gave them minimal pleasure. “The feeling afterwards is not good, we didn’t have a good feeling on Friday either, in practice,” says Botín. “This is not to say that we cannot do it. We have to sit down and analyze well and find the focus points for tomorrow [domingo]. We have to try to take a step tomorrow, which is a very important day for us, in order to start season four strong. The days here are very few and the opportunity that we have, as we had in Christchurch, to have similar days of competition, are very good. We have to leave our skin tonight to draw the best conclusions and come out with fire on Sunday”.

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