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Tom Slingsby & Kyle Langford on their F50 capsize in the Great Sound, Bermuda

by Australia SailGP Team 16 Apr 23:43 PDT 16 April 2021
Australia SailGP capsizes in the Great Sound, Bermuda - Friday,April 16, 2021 © SailGP

Skipper Tom Slingsby and his Australia teammates took the opportunity to get out on the waves on Friday with a week to go before Season 2 kicks off in Bermuda, but it wasn't all rosy as a capsize interrupted their training session.

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. The sailors all took cover on the raised starboard hull of the upturned F50. There's another week of training to go before practice racing begins on the Great Sound on Friday, April 23, with the racing to take place on the 24th and 25th of April.

Tom Slingsby, Skipper of the Australia SailGP Team:

"We were training on the USA Team's F50 when the capsize happened, and I'd say we were sailing in the upper wind limits for these boats"

"We were using the new 18m wing which has a few different operating ways. It was our first time using this wing and we did make some errors which have not been an issue in the past and were highlighted today in extreme conditions. It was definitely a adrenaline fuelled start to the session and capsizing when going that fast was definitely pretty scary but I'm just glad everyone is safe and the damage to the boat is minimal.

"Today's experience just highlights why it's so important that we are able to test these boats and the new technology out before the Bermuda event. We did a safety session in the water two days ago and did a capsize recovery session this morning before we hit the water, so our safety protocol went very smoothly in righting the boat. We're very grateful to the safety teams and the USA shore team for getting us safely back upright.

"I'd love to say the USA boat was to blame! However myself and our sailors' hands are up for this one. We were pushing the limits and pushed too far. We are now in the process of organising apology bottles of alcohol to the teams who have to fix the damage we caused."

Kyle Langford, Wing Trimmer for the Australian SailGP Team:

"Your first reaction as soon as the boat is going over is to look out for your mates to make sure that everyone is safe. One we knew everyone was ok then the focus switched immediately into recovering the boat and trying to prevent any further damage. We spend a lot of time analysing these situations so if they do happen we can respond quickly and today really showed how well trained the entire safety team is as we managed to recover the boat well and return it to shore pretty quickly.

"It's the nature of these boats in big breeze that you can have the chance of capsizing, fortunately everyone was safe and the damage is repairable and these things happen! Plenty to learn from this incident and we owe our American mates a few beers for that!

"Safety is everything, the boats are travelling at the speed of cars and when you capsize like this it makes you thankful for all the safety training we do and the professionals that are on the support boats that assist to get the situation under control quickly."

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