Peter Burling and his Kiwi crew delivered an impressive win at the British SailGP Regatta in Plymouth beating the all-dominant Aussies for the first time this season
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke alongside their kiwi crew, including new tactician, Jo Aleh have taken victory in the British SailGP regatta in Plymouth in impressive style finishing first or second in every race bar one.
The third series of the high speed foiling catamaran racing circuit has been dominated by the two-time series winner, Tom Slingsby and his Australian team. So far the Aussies have won the opening two regattas of the season but the Kiwis managed to take the top spot in a tense, light and shifty winner takes all three-boat final race.
The Kiwis had been in impressive form throughout the weekend, finally showing the kind of pace many expected when Burling and Tuke first signed up to SailGP some time ago. It was assumed they would be fighting at the front from the off, having delivered, as a team, dominant performances in almost every boat they have sailed together including 49er gold medals and two America’s Cup wins.
It may have taken the New Zealand crew a little longer than most expected but this weekend was the sort of dominance many predicted from them. But it does remain to be seen if they can carry this form into the next SailGP event in Denmark 19-20 August.
Burling said: “I think a lot of people would have expected this of us by now and it’s great to have put together a good weekend and put in such a dominant performance. We have been working really hard to improve and I think we truly proved that today, we are just so much more comfortable with the boat now than we have been.”
The Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL warmed up in the best possible way for its home event in just three weeks’ time with an impressive day two performance, delivering two second place finishes to secure a place in the three-boat podium final for the first time ever.
Sehested said: “It’s been a long time coming for us, and it’s really pleasing to have made the final but if I’m honest it feels a bit sour. We felt like with the wind shift we didn’t have much luck in the final and it destroyed our chances of winning but that’s racing.”
For the first time in a while it wasn’t Tom Slingsby and his Australian team on the winner’s podium, with a broken rudder – which was fixed in record time by the SailGP Technical Team – nearly prematurely ending their afternoon in race five.
Slingsby said: “We are not disappointed at all actually, we are ecstatic about coming second in this event, it was just a really tough day for us. It looked like we wouldn’t be in the final with a gear breakage but it was an incredible effort by our team to get us into that final. And to come away with second place, wow, we are really happy.”
Great Britain missed the final – and the chance of winning its first event of the season – in controversial circumstances with a late penalty against Australia meters from the finish line in the day’s final fleet race.
Sir Ben Ainslie said: “It’s really frustrating. I mean it’s tight in SailGP, it comes down to those narrow margins. Chief Umpire Craig Mitchell and I have had our disagreements in the past and I’m sure we will again in the future. I think it’s a bad call, it’s really frustrating and we are really disappointed, but that’s top level sport, it happens, we have to take it on the chin and move on.”
Before the day’s official racing, Ainslie’s British F50 was driven by The Duchess of Cambridge in a friendly Commonwealth race against New Zealand, accompanied by UN Patron for the Ocean Lewis Pugh, on the event racecourse, with the home team emerging victorious.
The Duchess also visited the SailGP technical site in her role as Patron of the 1851 Trust, the official charity of the Great Britain SailGP Team, where she joined a group of children taking part in the Protect Our Future sustainability program.
Councillor Richard Bingley, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “What an absolutely fantastic weekend in Britain’s Ocean City! We were honored to host the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in the UK’s first National Marine Park for the second year running. With SailGP comes a raft of benefits for Plymouth, including attracting thousands of visitors to our waterfront, providing a welcome boost to the local economy and raising the city’s profile on a global stage.”
The European leg of the championship continues in Copenhagen for the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix on August 19-20. For tickets, head to SailGP.com/Copenhagen for more information, and for details on how to watch the action in Denmark head to SailGP.com/watch.
See results and more at the SailGP website.
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