SailGP: Australians sail three-up and face technical issues

Taranto: It was an eventful first race day for Slingsby’s Australian side and the league as a whole, as teams competed in a new crew set up at the first ever Italian Sail Grand Prix.

Due to lighter conditions on the Mar Grande, it was decided ahead of racing that each boat would feature just three crew instead of the usual five for the first time in the history of the league. Slingsby had Kyle Langford as the wing trimmer, with Kinley Fowler managing both the Flight Controller and Grinder positions on the F50.

The pressure of sailing a brand-new format with minimal practice, was compounded by serious technical issues faced by the Australian crew, with Slingsby describing the day as a “comedy of errors.”

Slingsby commented on the new format saying “Sailing three-up definitely has potential, but we just haven’t had enough practice, which you need when three guys are trying to manage five roles on board. When everyone was out there practicing today before the start, we were at a standstill trying to fix our hydraulic issues.

“It’s like a tennis player not being able to warm up and having to have their first swing at the start of the match.”

The Australians have finished up at the bottom of the leaderboard on day one.

Elaborating on the team’s performance, Slingsby said, “Our preparation was seriously hampered and then when we did get going, and the boat was working, we made a lot of errors. My hand is up, I made a heap of errors out there tactically.”

“We are going to sit down, analyse our mistakes and be candid with each other and try to come back stronger tomorrow. Our number one priority is to get the boat working and to be able to do some preparation on the race track before racing tomorrow.”

Racing will continue tomorrow in Taranto, with all teams competing in two fleet races. Following the two fleet races the top three teams on the leaderboard will then face off in a thrilling final race to crown the winner of the Taranto Sail Grand Prix.

Australian fans will be able to watch all of the action of the race day two on the SailGP app and live on official broadcasters Foxtel and Kayo Sports. Kayo Sports are also offering fans free access to both the live and replay racing.

Race Day One Leaderboard:

  1. USA- 21 points
  2. JAPAN- 21 points
  3. Spain- 17 points
  4. France- 13 points
  5. New Zealand- 11 points
  6. Great Britain- 11 points
  7. Denmark- 9 points
  8. Australia-5 points
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