Slingsby leads Australians to victory in SailGP regatta
Australian Tom Slingsby easily beat British rivals Sir Ben Ainslie and Nathan Outteridge of Team Japan in the podium race on Saturday to win the Danish Grand Prix of Sailing in Aarhus Bay.
The second consecutive regatta victory gives defending champions Australia a 32-30 lead over Great Britain in the Season 2 standings after four races in the eight-team World League. Japan is third with 28 points and the United States fourth with 26. France has 25 points, Spain and New Zealand 23 and Denmark 22.
The 50ft foil catamarans sailed with crews of three rather than five due to the light wind.
“It was an incredible team effort under really tough conditions,” said Slingsby, Olympic gold medalist and former America’s Cup champion. “It was quite stressful. We got off to a good start in the final race and kept our cool as behind us there was a lot of argy-bargy between the British and the Japanese, but we were able to stay focused and pull away.
“It’s not often that you get to beat Ben Ainslie on a race track,” Slingsby said. “He’s a legend and you really have to sail on top of your game to beat him.”
Great Britain were penalized after the referees determined they did not leave enough room for Japan at the third mark and had to fall behind Japan.
“The Australians sailed well to be fair. We managed to get past the Japanese and then the refs came up with one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen, ”said Ainslie.
“Normally I don’t complain too much about referee calls, but it was just shocking,” he added. “This call ruined the race for us and probably for the spectators as well. In the end, they’re there to do a job, it’s not easy for them, and you just have to go with the rubbing of the green, take it on the chin, and come back to fight for the next one.
Ainslie returned to the helm of the British boat after missing the last two races to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. He is a quadruple Olympic gold medalist and former America’s Cup champion. Outteridge is an Australian who won Olympic gold and silver medals and also competed in the America’s Cup.
Outteridge won both fleet races on Saturday, the fourth and fifth in the regatta, to earn a place on the podium.
Slingsby steered the Australians to the inaugural season championship in 2019 and the $ 1million prize winner takes it all.
The next regatta will take place from September 11 to 12 in Saint-Tropez, France.
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