Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team appears to have lost none of the momentum from its Season 2 Grand Final victory in San Francisco in March, as it dominated the podium race of the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess to claim the opening title of the season
Racing on the second day of the season took place in perfect conditions. Bermuda’s Great Sound sparkled under clear skies with fans packing the shoreline and cramming onto boats to see the action on the glittering turquoise waters.
In a fantastic debut weekend, the Phil Robertson-led Canada SailGP Team finished in third place, while Sir Ben Ainslie and the British team narrowly missed out on back to back Bermuda titles to finish as runners-up.
After an indifferent day one performance, Australia once again delivered when it mattered, winning the second race of day two and then storming to victory in the final well ahead of Canada and Great Britain.
“I’m getting a lot of questions about what the secret is to our success,” shared Slingsby, “but all I can say is we are definitely a confidence team, and when we are confident we are very hard to beat. I mean winning that last fleet race, we won that from start to finish, looked at each other and said ‘we are gonna smoke this final’ and that’s what happened.”
A great opening day performance – that included two first places – saw the British team secure its place in the final three-boat podium race. Shortly before the start, a bad tactical error cost Ainslie’s team any chance of victory, arriving at the start line behind Australia and Canada. Despite managing to work up to second place, the Aussies were too far in front to ever look at risk of losing their lead.
“We just made an absolute mess of that last start which is so frustrating when you do all the hard work to get into the event final,” admitted Ainslie. “We had a whole plan, then we messed it all up, we did a great job to fight back and overcome Canada but if you make a mistake like that you make it so hard to win.”
It was all smiles for the Canada SailGP Team after a spectacular debut, holding pace with Great Britain for much of the final race and delivering the event’s most eye-catching performances.
“I’m really proud of the team, obviously it’s a really cool achievement to come away with a podium finish in the first event, this is what we had dreamed of happening,” noted Kiwi driver Phil Robertson. “Pretty pumped for the rest of the season now, it’s going to be a pretty cool year, but we won’t get ahead of ourselves, there’s a long way to go.”
It was a day to forget for France, who had a strong chance of making the final after a promising day one effort. Those chances immediately evaporated after an excessively aggressive start in today’s first race from driver Quentin Delapierre. In a dangerous maneuver that saw Ainslie’s team have to take drastic action to avoid a serious crash, the umpires penalized the French with only the second black flag in SailGP history.
“I fully understand the black flag, I took some risks today and it was just too much from me,” noted Delapierre. “I just have to learn from these experiences, but I think as a group we are still on a good learning curve.”
Elsewhere Nicolai Sehested’s Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL delivered one of the finer day two performances, just missing out on the podium race after finishing third and fourth in the fleet races and leading for much of the day’s opener.
2. Great Britain
5. United States
6. New Zealand
*The Japan SailGP Team will sit out the first events of the season due to a series of external factors resulting in only nine F50s being available for the start of Season 3.
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31, 2022 – Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 18-19, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 9-10, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 23-24, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 11-12, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
March 17-18, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)
*One further event is expected to be announced to complete SailGP Season 3.
2022-23 Teams, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Canada, Phil Robertson
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
Spain, Jordi Xammar
Switzerland, Sébastien Schneiter
United States, Jimmy Spithill
Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize money to be split among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
For competition documents, click here.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans for event prize money as the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.
Published on May 15th, 2022