NEW YORK (Log News Service)—In front of large crowds lining the waterfront in downtown Manhattan, the Japan SailGP Team – helmed by double Olympic medalist Nathan Outteridge – beat off strong competition from Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team to win its first event in the inaugural SailGP season.
An intense final match race took place between the two rivals on the Hudson River racecourse, which saw drama before the start as the high-powered F50s, capable of intense speeds, made contact. A penalty to Australia saw Japan eventually get the better of the season’s leaders and take the victory in New York.
New York’s urban landscape provided an extra challenge for the world-class athletes this week as they battled shifting breezes and varied wind speeds on a smaller, more challenging racecourse. Boat handling and maneuvering on the foils was significantly more of a factor than ever before as the boats flew around the Hudson at the fastest speeds yet seen on SailGP, with the Australia team hitting a top speed of nearly 60 mph. It was the superior adaptability of the Japanese team that won the event on the Hudson.
“It was tough conditions, but the Japan team was better. They’ve been better than us the last two days, and they deserve the win,” Slingsby said. “The way this sport has gone, and the way Nathan and my careers have gone has been amazing, and we’re so happy to be here racing each other; unfortunately, it’s on different teams, but it also makes it more fun.”
At the end of the season’s third stop in New York in the inaugural SailGP season only one point separates Japan and Australia on the leaderboard (140 to 139).
The next regatta is in Cowes, England on the weekend of Aug. 10-11, followed by the final regatta of the season in Marseille, France Sept. 20-22. The three- day-event in Marseille will conclude with a $1 million winner-take-all match race between the two top teams for the season championship.