SailGP Sydney wrap-up

After the 3 races held in Sydney Harbour on Saturday adternoon, we had a clean sweep by the French, return to form by Jimmy and the USA team (with Aussie Lucy Copeland filling in as strategist) and a solid 3rd for the Aussies putting them in an “almost” guaranteed grand final spot.

A gusty weather system caused issues for many of the crews and there were several close crosses and plenty of air time. Team GBR had grinder Matt Gotrel fall through the fairing towards the end of race 1 whilst leading and both the Kiwis and Aussies had issues getting their foils to either lock or unlock.

Racing was however over-shadowed by the catastrophic weather event that hit the fleet after racing as the first boats were getting craned out. I am sure everyone has by now seen a multitude of social media posts from every angle! The Kiwis had their wing and hull packed away and the Aussies just managed to get their wing on the deck as a massive squall hit the tech site. It was a critical point for the Canada team who had just separated the wing from the boat. The wind caught the wing and flung it around, causing severe damage to itself and the tents storing the wings and wing sections. The Canada boat, wing and all the spare wing sections were damaged. Fortunately nobody was hurt as the ground crew fought to keep everything on the deck.

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It was interesting to note that the remaining 6 boats which were on moorings at the time the squall hit, were undamaged. They remained there overnight under the watchful eyes of the tech teams.

Sundays’ racing was understandably cancelled as Workcover and officials checked the site out before staff were allowed back in to start the clear up process.

What next ? – with the Christchurch event only a month away, the SailGP organisers are confident the event will go ahead. Work is already underway getting the replacement 24m wing sections built, with the expectation I imagine that the big 29m sections will not be required for either the Christchurch or San Francisco venues!. The Canada hull will however need further checks and repairs, but hopes are high that the boat will be on the start line in 26 days time.

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