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Team Australia capsize in practice ahead of SailGP season 2 opener

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Hanging in there: Team Australia capsize, while practising on-board rival Team United States’s wing-sailed F50 foiling catamaran in the Great Sound
Hanging in there: Team Australia capsize, while practising on-board rival Team United States’s wing-sailed F50 foiling catamaran in the Great Sound

Australia SailGP Team endured an eventful practice session in the Great Sound today.

The SailGP champions capsized in choppy seas and 34 knot southwesterly breezes while training on-board rival United States SailGP Team’s wing-sailed F50 foiling catamaran.

There were no injuries reported, while the boat is believed to have sustained minimal damage during the mishap.

“Today, the Australia SailGP Team capsized during training on the Great Sound. No injuries were sustained,” SailGP said in a statement.

“The Australia team was training on the United States F50 at the time. The boat is being towed back to dock to assess the damage, but minimal damage is expected.

“The safety of everyone involved with SailGP is our top priority and we have comprehensive protocols in place to mitigate inherent risks. We will thoroughly investigate the situation to determine what happened and how to prevent future occurrences.”

Team Australia were practising in preparation for the SailGP season 2 opening Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess to be held in the Great Sound on April 24 and 25.

“The capsize today reiterates why it is so essential that the world-class athletes have time to train on board these boats and the importance of on-water safety trials taking place prior to racing,” the SailGP statement added.

United States SailGP Team took the social media network, Twitter, to poke a bit of fun at their rivals after learning that their crew was safe and their boat had only suffering minimal damage.

“Our team is happy to hear that all crew are safe and accounted for and damage is minimal,” the team Tweeted.

“Apparently Tom Slingsby [Team Australia helmsman and CEO] wasn’t used to going that fast.”

Yesterday’s drama evoked memories of Emirates Team New Zealand's capsize in their Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Play-off Semi-finals against Land Rover BAR in the Great Sound in 2017.

Led by Olympic gold medal winner and America’s Cup winning tactician Slingsby, Team Australia won the inaugural SailGP championship in 2019.

The global series was founded by Sir Russell Coutts, the multiple King Edward VII Gold Cup and America’s Cup champion, and American business magnate Larry Ellison after Oracle’s loss to Team New Zealand.

Each grand-prix event includes two competition days, featuring five fleet races leading to a final match race between the two leaders.

Points are accumulated at each event throughout the season, culminating in a $1 million winner-takes-all championship race at the Grand Final.

Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and Spain are the remaining national teams competing in the championship.

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Published April 16, 2021 at 4:06 pm (Updated April 17, 2021 at 12:00 am)

Team Australia capsize in practice ahead of SailGP season 2 opener

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