Australia has won the opening event of Season 3, beating Great Britain and Canada in the Bermuda Final.
Two-time SailGP victors, Australia SailGP Team, has started with the right foot Season 3 of SailGP after earning top points in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess. Tom Slingsby’s team’s excellent performance during the second day secured them a spot in the three-team final against Great Britain and SailGP debutant team Canada.
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Australia has started this season strong with a consistent performance in all five fleet races. During the Final race, Great Britain started slow, giving momentum to Australia and Canada who charged over the start line. Slingsby led the race from the start, tacking in tandem with Canada and blocking their wind.
Great Britain sailed consistently on the opposite side of the race course, searching for more wind and making big gains. However, Australia’s Flight Controller, Jason Waterhouse, piloted the boat higher, allowing the team to extend their lead at the front and giving no chance for Canada or Great Britain to take the lead.
As a result, they built a 200-metre lead over Great Britain during the final leg.
“I think it’s coming through confidence-wise. We’re becoming a bit of a specialist in the three-boat game.” -Slingsby
Although they finished third in the race, the Canadian team made an excellent debut. They relied on the experience of Phil Robertson and SailGP veteran Chris Draper. During the event in Bermuda, they were consistent in the five fleet races.
Sir Ben Ainslie’s team who won the inaugural event last year in Bermuda claimed two wins during the first day of racing. The British team sits second overall with 9 points.
As for the rest of the fleet, Quentin Delapierre’s French team received the second black flag in SailGP history after nearly colliding with Great Britain in Race 5. New Zealand had a slow start, earning a win in race five followed by a seventh place in the final race of the fleet. SailGP Team Switzerland ended their debut event in last place.
The strict new penalty point system has been designed to narrow down collisions on the racecourse. This was introduced ahead of the third season, and it includes a doubling of penalty points for contact and collisions between rival boats.
“Going into the second season, we had a pretty solid system that we thought was pretty tough, but after the U.S.-Japan clash we made some changes to bring it up to date.” -Mitchell
This new system comes after the incidents that took place during the second season, for instance the incident involving the British team causing serious damage to one of Japan’s hulls. For this reason, SailGP has decided to change the penalty policy for season 3.
One of the key changes in the system is flexibility in the number of penalty points awarded to the right-of-way boat. Also, it has introduced the possibility of deducting total points for the season if a boat was found to have caused a serious accident.
Along with the stricter penalty system, technological advances have been made to reduce contact between boats. Now, the F50 catamarans display an early warning system alarm on the wing display, which sounds if another ship appears in the ship’s blind spot.
The F50 catamarans fleet will meet again at the United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago on June 18-19.