COWES, England (LOG NEWS SERVICE)—In extreme conditions at the European debut of SailGP, Australia’s Tom Slingsby proved once again that he is the one to beat in the league’s first season. The Australia SailGP Team dominated the field with a sweep of the races while becoming the first crew to break the 50-knot speed barrier in sail racing.
Races scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 10 were cancelled because of strong winds, which reportedly gusted to 50 knots.
In front of a packed crowd on Sunday Slingsby set a new sail racing speed record, clocking in at 50 knots while crossing the finish line of the first race.
Earlier in the week, the Australian team sustained damage to its wing in practice and was unsure whether it would be able to race, but Sunday morning saw all damage repaired and Slingsby raring to go.
The United States SailGP Team capsized within 30 seconds of the start of race one, but surprisingly was able to compete in the rest of the day’s racing with quick assistance from the SailGP tech team.
The Great Britain SailGP Team wasn’t as lucky. On the second to last leg of the first race, the team dug its bow into the water, sending flight controller Chris Draper tumbling over Stuart Bithell in a dramatic crash. No injuries were sustained; however, the boat was too damaged to continue sailing.
After four events Australia tops the leaderboard with 169 points followed closely by Japan with 165. The United States team is in third place with 123 points.
SailGP’s final stop for Season 1 is Sept. 20-22 in Marseille, France with three full days of competition planned, including an ultimate winner-takes-all match race between the two top teams for the SailGP championship trophy and a $1 million purse.
Established in 2018 SailGP is headquartered in London and San Francisco. SailGP features inshore racing in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, in some of the most iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race between the two top teams for the season championship.