With less than one month to the start of SailGP Season 2, the newest team on the circuit has confirmed its plan for the 2020 schedule. The Spain SailGP Team features Olympians and world champions from across the country, and will be the youngest team to compete in the world’s fastest sail racing.
Jordi Xammar - 470 skipper - will helm the Spanish entry following the 2020 Olympic Games, with SailGP veteran Phil Robertson (NZL) serving in an interim capacity to start the season.
The Spanish squad includes Xammar, 26, of Barcelona (helm); Florian Trittel, 25, of Barcelona (wing trimmer); Luis Bugallo, 24, of Vigo (wing trimmer); Joel Rodríguez, 22, of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (flight controller); Diego Botín, 26, of Santander (flight controller); Joan Cardona, 21, Palma de Mallorca (grinder); Iago López Marra, 29, of A Coruña (grinder); and Mateu Barber, 27, of Palma de Mallorca.
Xammar finished 12th in the 470 class at the 2016 Olympic Games and will be a medal contender for Spain at Tokyo 2020, having already secured his position for his second Olympic appearance. Robertson, 32, of Auckland, who steered the China team to podium success in Season 1, will start the season as interim helm to help accelerate the team’s learning curve on the F50.
"Ever since SailGP launched last year, I knew that I wanted to be involved and represent my country,” said Xammar. “I am so excited to put together a team and think SailGP is a fantastic opportunity to engage a mainstream audience in the sport of sailing. I hope we will deliver a great show on the water and do Spain proud.”
Xammar is already familiar with the majority of his team as he was joined by Botín, Bugallo, Cardona, Rodríguez, and Trittel for the 2017 Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda. Those six plus López Marra have all been part of Spanish Impulse, a group initially formed for the Youth America’s Cup, and now with a focus on the Olympics and developing athletes in high-performance foiling boats.
Wing trimmer Trittel is no stranger to high speeds on the water and expected to represent Spain in the Olympics this year, competing in the foiling Nacra 17 class.
In the flight controller position will be 2016 Olympian Botín, who is on track to represent Spain in Tokyo in the 49er class. Two-time European champion and ninth-place finisher at the Rio Games in the 49er alongside Spain SailGP teammate López Marra, this successful pairing will be counting on its strong relationship to succeed in both SailGP and on the Olympic circuit this season.
For the youngest team member, Cardona, SailGP offers the opportunity to face his sailing idols. Growing up sailing a Laser before stepping up to the Finn class – in which he’s a U23 world champion – Cardona cites British helm Sir Ben Ainslie and reigning SailGP champion Tom Slingsby as his two biggest sailing heroes.
Spain SailGP Team CEO María del Mar de Ros said: “Competing in SailGP is a dream come true. It is something we have achieved thanks to the confidence of SailGP and the effort, work and passion that are the pillars of our team.”
The new Spanish team has already stepped onboard the F50 in New Zealand for a number of training days and has attended a simulator session in London.
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
Spain, Jordi Xammar/ Phil Robertson
United States, Rome Kirby
Sydney, Australia (February 28-29)
San Francisco, USA (May 2-3)
New York, USA (June 12-13)
Cowes, UK (August 14-15)
* Additional dates by February 2020