Kiwis stun field in front of packed Plymouth shoreline

Peter Burling and his New Zealand SailGP Team produced one of the most impressive days seen on the water in SailGP, taking 28 points from a possible 30 on day one of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth.

Burling took his team to three top-two finishes on Plymouth Sound to all but seal a place in the event final with two races still to be held.

The other two places in the top-three are occupied by the Australian team, which claimed the day’s second race, and France, who managed two top three finishes on an impressive day of racing from Quentin Delapierre.

In front of thousands lining the Plymouth coast, Ben Ainslie left himself with a significant amount of work to do for tomorrow’s final, as a series of poor starts saw him finish no higher than fourth in the day’s racing.

But the day belonged to Burling, who said his team would remain focused on day two despite an outstanding opening to the event.

“Obviously it’s nice to come out and get a fair few more points on the board than we’ve managed in our SailGP careers. We just made a few subtle tweaks and I think we’ve been showing for a long time we were getting closer to putting together a perfect day. I think we managed that today,” Burling said.

Australia and Canada against Plymouth Hoe backdrop – Bob Martin pic

As has become custom in SailGP, Australia finds itself in the top three in the standings, but driver Tom Slingsby said he felt there was a lot of room for improvement.

Slingsby said: “Today was frustrating actually, I really felt like we left a lot of points out there, to be honest. Overall, the team spirit is high and I’m proud we fought back from some bad positions but it’s ultimately a frustrating day.”

On one of the better days on the water for the France SailGP Team, it sits third after day one, and stands a good chance of a first event final for Delapierre.

“I like our mindset, the learning curve is going well, it was a really good day for the team, I’m feeling positive,” Delapierre said.

After a strong start to Season 3 it was a disappointing day for Ainslie and the Great Britain Team, but they remain in the hunt for a final appearance that would delight home fans.

Ainslie said: “It really wasn’t a great day for us, we made life really, really hard for ourselves with our starts, I mean, three bad starts. We actually did a good job after that to get back in it but we have left ourselves with a ton of work to do.”

Not much went right for Ainslie, with race one also involving a collision with Spain, after which Jordi Xammar’s team was docked four penalty points.

“We were fighting for the bottom end of the line and so were the Spanish – we were there on the gun and they tried to come in tight and there wasn’t really enough room,” Ainslie said.

Day two of racing starts at 2.00pm local time. Fans around the globe can check out how to watch where they are at Racing is also available on SailGP’s YouTube channel and app.

Day one standings after 3 races:

  1. New Zealand, 28 points
  2. Australia, 22 points
  3. France, 22 points
  4. Canada, 20 points
  5. Great Britain, 19 points
  6. Denmark, 18 points
  7. Switzerland, 13 points
  8. United States, 11 points
  9. Spain, 5 points
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