© Bob Martin for SailGP
The first Sail Grand Prix of season 3 ends in Bermuda with the victory of the Australian boat piloted by Tom Slingsby, winner of the first two seasons. The Canadians make a remarkable entry into the championship by winning their first podium behind the British of Ben Ainslie, second. Led by Quentin Delapierre, the French showed good progress by signing two races at the forefront yesterday. A disqualification at the start of the first race of the day destroyed their chances of reaching the final of this Bermuda Sail Grand Prix, which they finished in 8th position. But the France SailGP Team, which has gone from observation mode to attack mode, is full of confidence for the rest of the season.
A more compact fleet, more boats on the starting lines, more people crossing the course marks, tactical moves on all sides, rankings that move in all directions as the level is high… Season 3 of SailGP did indeed start on the turquoise waters of Bermuda in a light breeze of 12 to 14 knots which allowed the nine flying F50 catamarans, equipped with their 24m wing and their large foils, to put on a nice show.
After an exciting day playing at the front in two of the three races contested yesterday, the French started this second day with too much risk taking by forcing the passage to the British on the starting line, which earned them a disqualification. “I’m very disappointed with this first round, it’s my first ‘black flag’,” regrets Quentin Delapierre who admits that he came close to colliding. I wanted to take risks but it didn’t happen at all. I’m even quite happy that Ben (Ainslie) managed to avoid me so that we didn’t take any penalty points. »
In the delicate exercise of maintaining flight and maximum concentration, the Danes of Nicolai Sehested, in the lead for a good part of the first race of the day (race 4), did rather well today with two races third and finished just off the podium in this Bermuda Sail Grand Prix. Led by Peter Burling, it was the New Zealanders who won this race 4, ahead of the Spaniards of Jordi Xammar.
The Australians of Tom Slingsby, discreet yesterday and in the first race of the day – but without a false note -, released the horses with a perfect start to win the last fleet race and confirm their place in the final against the English of Ben Ainslie and Canadians led by Phil Robertson. The French, certainly scalded at having paid the high price for their risk-taking, started slightly behind on this fifth start and were in a fight with the New Zealanders for a good part of the round which they finished at the eighth place ahead of the Spaniards who bring up the rear. “I continue to learn, adds the tricolor pilot. Now we are looking ahead in Chicago and we will be on the job to do better. I’m happy with the dynamics of the team. We were in a good position this morning in the general classification, it bothers me to have made such a mistake in the first race. »
Winners of the first two seasons of SailGP, the Australians hit hard again today at the Great Sound nautical stadium. After a neck and neck start to the final with the Canadians, Tom Slingsby and his team passed the first course mark in the lead, as if to announce the color. Starting back, the British made up for their delay by playing on the right variations in the wind away from their competitors on the race zone, and ended up taking second place in this three-way final, ahead of the Canadians. Without a single maneuvering error aboard their F50, which they lead with insolent ease above the water, the Australians have therefore won in Bermuda by winning the first Sail Grand Prix of this new SailGP season which is already holding all his promises. Next meeting for the fleet of nine ultra-fast F50 catamarans on June 18 and 19 in Chicago for the United States Sail Grand Prix.
- AUSTRALIA/ Tom Slingsby / 38 pts
- GREAT BRITAIN / Ben Ainslie / 36 pts
- CANADA / Phil Robertson / 35 pts
- DENMARK / Nicolai Sehested / 31 pts
- UNITED STATES / Jimmy Spithill / 30 pts
- NEW ZEALAND / Peter Burling / 29 pts
- SPAIN / Jordi Xammar / 25 pts
- FRANCE / Quentin Delapierre / 23 pts
- SWITZERLAND / Sébastien Schneiter / 21 pts