Pile-up at the Australian Sailing Grand Prix >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News


Sydney, Australia (December 17, 2021) – Under perfect skies it was anything but a perfect racing day for Britain and Japan as a major crash occurred moments before the start of race three, activating the Australian Sailing Grand Prix and the season. her head.

The dramatic collision between Sir Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain SailGP team and Nathan Outteridge’s Japanese team stunned spectators and competitors alike, and left both boats severely damaged and unable to start the final race. of the day.

The crash happened just minutes after Japan apparently took command of the Sydney event with a victory in the second race, and it left Ainslie and his team shut out from the rest of the event and with their chances of qualifying for the Season 2 Grand Finals in Ragged San Francisco. All crew members of both boats were unharmed after the incident and all debris was collected out of the water.

In the aftermath of the day, the podium action belonged to the Spanish SailGP team as pilot Phil Robertson took them to three top-three standings to sit atop the event standings after three races. Running at home, Australia’s Tom Slingsby had a mixed day with a victory in a chaotic race three, a third place in race one and a disappointing seventh place in race two. His team are in second place with Jimmy Spithill’s US team after day one, five points behind Spain.

But all of the talk after the day’s race was about the crash between Ainslie and Outteridge with the British driver apologizing and regretting how the day had gone.

“Honestly, I just haven’t seen the Japan team,” Ainslie admitted. “I was focused on the American boat and the first time I was aware of Japan, it was right when we hit them, it’s really frustrating, but I guess racing at that level, too. tight, with teams as close as they are, it’s going to be okay.

“Really, your main concern is just the safety of people because it has had a big impact. I am very sorry for the Japanese team, no one wants these situations to happen.

For his part, Outteridge said he was stunned to see the British boat heading towards him and that his main concern had been the safety of his crew.

“Honestly, I just thought how can this happen? Outeridge said. “No one ever does this on purpose, so they mustn’t have seen us. I think they all feel terrible, nobody wants to do that to other boats, the good news is everyone is fine. I think it shows the fleet is pushing hard, everyone is pushing hard.

“Unfortunately for us, it ruined our boat and our chances of winning this event.”

For Ainslie, the aftermath of the crash appears to extend far beyond the Sydney event, with her team certain they will miss tomorrow’s race for damaging the Japanese boat. The chief referee has determined that Great Britain will also incur a six point penalty for the Sydney event and lose two points from their overall standings for the season.

“Unfortunately it’s the end of our season now really in terms of participating in the final race in San Francisco,” Ainslie said. “It will be impossible for us to get there, I think, and obviously it also massively affects the team of Japan and its season, which is not what we want to do, we do not want to affect the teams of this way, it’s massively unfortunate for everyone. ”

Under SailGP rules, the SailGP Event Authority may substitute or allocate identical equipment to allow a damaged team to compete.

The Event Authority is currently assessing the damage to the British boat to determine if it is possible to replace some of the British equipment to allow Japan to race. Ainslie and the SailGP Great Britain team have offered all the support they need – including their boat – to help get Japan back on the water for tomorrow’s races.

Outteridge wasn’t giving up hope of racing on Matchday 2 and hoped his team could fight for some valuable points to solidify their place in the Championship standings.

“Ben said if he could do anything to get us racing tomorrow he would help us out, and I appreciate that. Our goal here in Sydney was to keep that buffer in the Championship standings, but Ben just gave us that back. a little harder It will be one of those weekends where it could have been so different, but that’s how it is.

Meanwhile, Spain can head into the optimistic second day of a first SailGP event title and climb even higher in the championship standings.

“The race is pretty close, there’s a lot of pressure there,” said Robertson. “Everyone wants to make this final in San Francisco so the boats are going to crash and they’re probably going to keep on crashing, so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and maybe we can sneak into the Grand Final. in San François.

“I hope the team will concentrate fully tomorrow. It’s going to be windy and we have to watch this event, these races and not next season or anywhere else.

Spithill’s US team are also sure to feature prominently in tomorrow’s action, which overcame a slow start with a sixth place finish in race one to finish on the podium in the two second races of the day.

The race begins tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. local time (12:00 p.m. EST) and will be broadcast live in the United States on CBS Sports Network, the SailGP YouTube channel as well as the SailGP app.

First day results
1. Spain, 21 points
2. Australia, 16 points
3. United States, 16 points
4. Denmark, 14 points
5. Japan, 10 points
6. New Zealand, 9 points
7. Great Britain, 6 points (including 6 penalty points)
8. France, 5 points (including 2 penalty points)


SailGP Information – Sydney Details – Facebook

How to watch – Results – Notice board – SailGP Insights

SailGP Season Championship (after 6 events)
1. Australia, 45 points
2. United States, 44 points
3. Japan, 44 points
4. Great Britain, 40 pts
5. New Zealand, 36 pts
6. Spain, 35 points
7. Denmark, 33 points
8. France, 31 points

Format of SailGP events:
• The teams compete against each other on identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event takes place over two days.
• There are three races each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The first five races in the fleet involve all the teams.
• The final match race pits the three best ranked teams against each other to be crowned champion of the event.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which features the Championship Final Race – a match-based race where the winner takes home the $ 1 million prize.

SailGP Season 2 Schedule *
April 24-25, 2021 – Bermuda Grand Prix
June 5-6, 2021 – Italian Grand Prix – Taranto
July 17-18, 2021 – British Grand Prix – Plymouth
August 20-21, 2021 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Grand Prix – Aarhus
September 11-12, 2021 – French Grand Prix – Saint-Tropez
October 9-10, 2021 – Spanish Grand Prix – Andalusia
December 17-18, 2021 – Australian Grand Prix – Sydney
January 29-30, 2022 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Christchurch (CANCELED)
March 26-27, 2022 – United States Grand Prix – San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)
*Subject to change

Teams 2021-22, barre
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie (alternate – Paul Goodison)
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling (alternate – Arnaud Psarofaghis)
Spain, Jordi Xammar (alternate – Phil Robertson)
United States, Jimmy Spithill


Established in 2018, SailGP aims to be an annual global sports league featuring fan-centric coastal races in some of the iconic ports around the world. Rival national teams battle it out on identical F50 catamarans, the season culminating with one million dollar race per match.

Source: SailGP


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