Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - LEADERBOARD

SailGP: Australian team capsizes US F-50 during practice session in 34kt breeze

by Richard Gladwell/Royal Gazette 16 Apr 21:55 PDT 17 April 2021
Australia SailGP capsizes in the Great Sound, Bermuda - Friday,April 16, 2021 © SailGP

The Australian SailGP crew capsized the US SailGP F50 foiling catamaran during a practice session on Bermuda's Great Sound on Friday.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Bermuda, only four boats are allowed in the water at a time, and the Jimmy Spithill led US Sailing Team had already been on the water for their practice session, and loaned their F50 to the Australians for the session.

The SailGP organisers made an on-board video available after the incident.

"There was clear damage to the top of the wing, likely caused when it hit the surface of the water with some force and ended submerged - with the Aussies all taking cover on the raised starboard side of the upturned F50," SailGP reported.

The incident appears to have been similar to Emirates Team NZ's pitchpole on Day 2 of the Challenger Semi-Finals for the Louis Vuitton Trophy ahead of the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Then, the Kiwis suffered extensive damage to their wingsail and cross-beam fairings, but it would seem from images of the boat that the US boat has escaped serious damage.

The Royal Gazette, an authoritative Bermudan newspaper reports that "the SailGP champions capsized in choppy seas and 34 knot southwesterly breezes while training on-board rival United States SailGP Team’s wing-sailed F50 foiling catamaran.

There were no injuries reported, while the boat is believed to have sustained minimal damage during the mishap.

“Today, the Australia SailGP Team capsized during training on the Great Sound. No injuries were sustained,” SailGP said in a statement.

“The Australia team was training on the United States F50 at the time. The boat is being towed back to dock to assess the damage, but minimal damage is expected.

“The capsize today reiterates why it is so essential that the world-class athletes have time to train on board these boats and the importance of on-water safety trials taking place prior to racing,” the SailGP statement added.

United States SailGP Team took the social media network, Twitter, to poke a bit of fun at their rivals after learning that their crew was safe and their boat had only suffering minimal damage.

“Our team is happy to hear that all crew are safe and accounted for and damage is minimal,” the team Tweeted.

“Apparently Tom Slingsby [Team Australia helmsman and CEO] wasn’t used to going that fast.”

The Australians responded on social media: "Oi James Spithill sorry about your boat mate, I know we promised we'd return it on one piece

"We had our first capsize today on the Great Sound whilst training on United States SailGP Team F50. All crew are safe and sound

"Jimmy, we believe we owe you a beer....or 10"

Slingsby told Associated Press that the Aussies were on the first lap of their first official session in 14 months when the boat capsized while going 45 knots in wind of about 25 knots, with gusts up to 35 knots. The boat rolled over onto its port hull, with the tip of its 79-foot (24-meter) wingsail resting on the water. The six-man crew was suspended high above the water in the cockpit in the starboard hull.

“I guess this capsize shows how important it is for us to get out there and do some training before the event starts,” Slingsby said in a phone interview with AP's Bernie Wilson. “Especially after a 14-month layoff, we’re all going to make mistakes.”

Spithill said that in the top end of the wind range, “the boats are a handful. That proved it. Those guys are the defending champions so for them to go over meant it must have been pretty tough.”

Spithill said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more than one capsize between now and the end of the regatta. “You’ve got the throttle down,” he said.

“Obviously it’s not ideal capsizing and damaging someone else’s boat but he understands how it is,” Slingsby said. “I think we owe him a few alcoholic presents and thank-yous, but we’re going to be over there helping wherever needed and also to get their boat on the water as quick as possible.”

Said Spithill: “They'd better be cold. They better be high-end beers, too. No cheap light beers.

“Until our boat’s ready to go, we’ll obviously be borrowing the Australian boat,” Spithill said. “I’m looking forward to having a go on the Australian boat.”

The Australian team is led by Tom Slingsby, and Olympic Gold medalist and a key member of the Oracle Racing team which successfully defended the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco, usually racing in conditions that were close to the upper wind limit. Slingsby and Spithill again collaborated in the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda, losing 8-1 wins to Emirates Team New Zealand.

Slingsby's team won the inaugural SailGP series in 2019. In the only regatta sailed in 2020, four-time Olympic Gold medalist, Ben Ainslie (GBR) have the fleet a sailing masterclass, winning all but one of the races in the Sydney event. The remainder of the second round was cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic.

The level of the SailGP competition will lift yet again, for the coming Round (entitled Round 2), with the addition of two more America's Cup skippers, defending champion Peter Burling and twice America's Cup champion Jimmy Spithill. They join 2017 America's Cup competitor Nathan Outteridge (AUS) who helmed for the Swedish Artemis Racing in the 2017 Louis Vuitton Trophy, losing to Emirates Team New Zealand in the Challenger Final. Jimmy Spithill (AUS) joins the SailGP circuit this year having helmed for USA in the 2010, 2013 and 2017 America's Cups. He was the co-helmsman for Italian Challenger Luna Rossa in the recently concluded America's Cup in Auckland.

Eight teams from Australia, USA, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and Spain are competing in the 2021 round of the SailGP championship, which is eagerly awaited by the sailing world.

The SailGP regattas consist of a week or so of Practice days, followed by five fleet races leading to a Final match race between the two top teams. The Final regatta in the SailGP circuit will see the winner take $1million prizemoney in the winner-takes all Grand Final.

Related Articles

GoPro video compilation from SailGP Bermuda
Have a look on board a F50 with shot from a GoPro aboard various teams at Bermuda Have a look on board a F50 with shot from a GoPro aboard various teams during Season 2 from SailGP Bermuda. Posted on 7 May
Challenging times for Spain SailGP in Bermuda
Former world match racing champion Phil Robertson recaps on Spain SailGP's experience in Bermuda. All the teams in the recent SailGP Bermuda regatta experienced challenges triggered by COVID19 restrictions on practice time, plus getting crews up to speed after 14months out of the circuit. Phil Robertson recaps on Spain SailGP's experience in Bermuda. Posted on 1 May
SailGP news, TOR goes green, and new IMOCA rules
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA The weather may have been cold and rainy for the Seattle Yacht Club's Protection Island Race this past Saturday on Puget Sound, but things were fortunately warmer in Bermuda, where sailing unfurled for the first event in the 2021 SailGP season. Posted on 27 Apr
SailGP Bermuda: Brits and Kiwis improve on Day 2
Brits win but Australia sets a very high bar for the the other seven teams Great Britain SailGP helmed by Prada Cup Finalist, Ben Ainslie won the sixth and Final race. The current America's Champions crewing the NZSailGP team improved to be in fifth position after the second and final day of SailGP Bermuda. Posted on 27 Apr
Bermuda Sail Grand Prix Highlights Video
Plenty of drama on the Great Sound! The opening event of SailGP Season 2 is over and we have our first winner, with Great Britain crowned champion of the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess. Posted on 26 Apr
SailGP season opener serves and frustrates
Incredible logistics and technology needs a little honing I take my hat off to the logistics team that the event happened at all. With a lockdown in Bermuda and the general difficulties in travel, getting eight international teams and the paraphernalia to a small island in the North Atlantic was no mean feat. Posted on 26 Apr
SailGP Bermuda: Dramatic onboard collision video
Dramatic video footage shot from on-board Japan SailGP as their courses intersected with USA SailGP Dramatic video footage shot from on-board Japan SailGP as their courses intersected with USA SailGP on Leg 3 of Race 4 of Day 2 of SailGP Bermuda. Nathan Outteridge describes how it unfolded. Posted on 26 Apr
SailGP Bermuda: Kiwis make big improvement - Day 2
The New Zealand SailGP Team delivered an improved performance at the Bermuda SailGP - Day 2 The New Zealand SailGP Team delivered an improved performance at the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess in a drama-filled second day on the Great Sound. Posted on 25 Apr
Great Britain stuns dominant Australia
To be crowned Bermuda Sail Grand Prix champion In a dramatic day that saw overtakes, crashes and a capsize, the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess was decided in a winner-takes-all final podium race that saw Ainslie come out on top from Tom Slingsby's Australia team. Posted on 25 Apr
SailGP Bermuda: Baptism by fire on opening day
The three America's Cup skippers all finished outside the top three on the leaderboard after Day 1 The surprise of the first day of racing in SailGP Bermuda was the performance of the three America's Cup skippers and their star studded teams - all finishing outside the top three on the overnight leaderboard. Posted on 25 Apr
J Composites 2020 - FOOTERLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px1 BOTTOMSea Sure 2021 - Transom Fittings - FOOTER