British team wins initial SailGP event of season in Sydney
SYDNEY (Log News Service)—Ben Ainslie’s British team wasted no time establishing themselves as the ones to beat this season as they put on impressive performances throughout Sydney SailGP on Feb. 28 and 29 to claim their first event title.
The first match race of SailGP Season 2 saw traditional rivals Great Britain and Australia face off and the four-time Olympic gold medalist Ainslie capped off his debut in style against the defending champion.
While thousands of spectators crowded Sydney Harbour during the two day event to watch the world’s fastest sail racing and see hometown hero Tom Slingsby attempt to fend off Ainslie’s challenge.
The match race closely reflected the racing throughout the entire event, as the British team got out to an early lead and was the fastest boat on Sydney Harbour. Slingsby and the Australians found themselves behind from the start, incurring a penalty for entering the start box early and the hosts were unable to pull back. The victory marked Great Britain’s first event win in the global championship.
The victory marked Great Britain’s first event win in the global championship.
Ainslie said: “It’s certainly been one of the best sailing events I’ve ever taken part in. Incredible conditions on the harbor, it doesn’t really get any better than that. It’s been magical.”
After the first event of Season 2, Great Britain sits atop the leaderboard with 47 points, followed by Australia with 42, Japan with 39, Spain with 31, the United States at 31 and Denmark with 22, while France rounds out the standings with 14 points.
Rome Kirby and the United States team finished fifth and will look to gain ground on the leaderboard when the global championship returns to San Francisco Bay on May 2-3.
At the first U.S event of Season 2 all seven boats will be boosted by the addition of a first-of-its-kind modular wingsail that will likely allow the F50s to fly at record-breaking speeds.
SailGP Season 2 Overall Leaderboard
After San Francisco events are scheduled in New York, Cowes, England and Copenhagen.