Slingsby’s Australia do well at home at SailGP Sydney
Australia recovered from a poor start to claim a vital victory on day one of SailGP racing in Sydney Harbor, as two of its biggest rivals were involved in a damaging collision.
Tom Slingsby’s Australian team finished third and seventh in the first two races and were sixth in the Sydney event standings, with just the top three after Saturday’s last two fleet races to advance to the final.
But the Australians dominated Friday’s final race to end day one with 16 points, tied for second with the United States and five behind surprise leaders Spain, the only team to finish in the top three in the three races.
The big moment came at the start of the final race and involved Japan and Great Britain, finishing third and fourth before the penultimate round of this week’s series.
The British catamaran F50 skippered by quadruple Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie sank into the Japanese boat, cutting her bow, without either boat being able to continue.
âI can’t imagine sailing tomorrow,â said Australian skipper from Japan Nathan Outteridge. “It definitely ruined our boat and any chance of winning this event.”
Outteridge accused the British ship of reckless navigation.
Asked what happened, Ainslie replied, âWe didn’t see the other boat, we focused on America. It is our mistake.
Spain, who led the series after two rounds but have had poor performances since, won Friday’s first race ahead of Great Britain. Japan controlled the second race, winning ahead of Spain.
The USA team, led by Australian Jimmy Spithill, improved throughout the day, scoring a sixth, third and second.
âI had a difficult day. I had a hard time leaving the start line in all of these races, âsaid Spithill.
Outside the top three after Friday were Denmark 14, Great Britain 12, Japan 10, New Zealand 9 and France 7.
Slingsby ended the inaugural 2019 season with victories over Outteridge in Sydney Harbor in the very first SailGP regatta and then in the Million Dollar Match Race Final in Marseille, France for win the championship.
Spithill has joined the circuit for Season 2, which has been postponed for more than a year due to COVID-19. Season 2 originally started with Ainslie dominating the Sydney Regatta in early 2020, but those results were canceled after the pandemic struck.
Australia have won three of the last four regattas. The United States, which has had several misadventures this season, finished second in a row. Japan have two wins and another podium. The British team have won the season opener and have two more podiums.
Spithill is a two-time America’s Cup champion who has a permanent home in San Diego with his American wife and two sons. Spithill, Slingsby and Ainslie were part of Oracle Team USA which recovered from an 8-1 deficit to stun Emirates Team New Zealand at the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco Bay .
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