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Australia take early lead at Bermuda SailGP

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Ruling the waves: Tom Slingsby and the Australian team (Photograph by SailGP)

It’s advantage Australia at the end of a thrilling first day of action at the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix.

While the three qualifying races did not feature any spills to rival the intensity of 24 hours earlier, when the USA capsized and caused damage serious enough to their wing to prevent them from taking to the start line in Bermuda, there were plenty of near-misses to enthral the spectators at Morgan’s Point.

Perhaps happy not to be involved in too many incidents was Australian driver Tom Slingsby, who steered his F50 to two wins and a third just a couple of months after his boat was docked eight season points for colliding with a race marker in Christchurch and being forced out of the event.

Slingsby’s performance was characterised by blistering starts and Australia were never headed in the first two races, coming home hundreds of metres clear of Canada in race one with New Zealand third.

Australia clear of the fleet on day one in Bermuda (photograph by SailGP)

It was the more of the same in race two with Slingsby again timing his start to perfection and finishing clear of Canada, with Rockwool Denmark finishing third.

Slingsby was pleased to have put the Christchurch incident behind him, telling SailGP that his team should “crash into marks more often”.

“The conditions were perfect and we were able to sail away,” Slingsby said. “It felt a bit like the Australia of old.

Slingsby did not quite get the start right in race three and finished third after being beaten to gate one by Spain, who performed brilliantly to edge out Denmark under driver Diego Botín, who was pleased with his actions on the start line

“It’s really tough here and the field is super tight,” Botín said.

“We got a good start and a good break on the fleet and then it was a nice battle with the Danes for first place.”

“The hardest thing here is when you have boats around you and everybody is sailing so well. Getting out of the blocks is the hardest part and if you start well it’s so much easier.

Australia lead the fleet on 28 points, five clear of Canada, who finished a disappointing sixth in race three after two runner-up finishes. Denmark and New Zealand are tied for third on 22 points, with Spain next in the standings on 19.

SailGP standings

After Day 1

Australia (Tom Slingsby) 28

Canada (Phil Robertson) 23

Denmark (Nicolai Sehested) 22

New Zealand (Peter Burling) 22

Spain (Diego Botín) 19

Emirates GBR (Giles Scott) 15

Germany (Erik Heil) 13

France (Quentin Delapierre) 12

Switzerland (Nathan Outteridge) 8

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Published May 04, 2024 at 5:13 pm (Updated May 05, 2024 at 1:35 pm)

Australia take early lead at Bermuda SailGP

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