Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Great Britain SailGP Team win Bermuda Sail Grand Prix after dramatic day of action

by GBR SailGP Team 25 Apr 2021 23:23 PDT 24-25 April 2021
Great Britain SailGP Team win Bermuda SailGP presented by Hamilton Princess © Bob Martin for SailGP

The Great Britain SailGP Team, helmed by Sir Ben Ainslie, took home the title in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess, after a thrilling day of racing on the Great Sound.

With the British going into the second and final day of the Bermuda SailGP in sixth place, the team knew improvements were needed to challenge for the event title. The conditions in Bermuda promised a formidable day of racing with strong wind conditions over 20 knots, close to the upper wind limits.

Due to the strong conditions, all teams sailed with their 18-metre 'baby' wingsail, with several teams using the newly available smallest wing, introduced this season by SailGP, for the first time.

The opening race of the day lived up to what the conditions were promising with close racing, collisions and capsizes. For the British team, it was a strong start with a lead at the first mark and the team's F50 catamaran flying at speeds of over 50 knots (58 MPH/ 93 KPH).

The race, which saw the USA and Japan SailGP Teams heavily collide, forcing both to retire from racing, was neck-and-neck between the British and the Australia SailGP Team throughout including several lead changes. The key moment of the race came at the third gate, when Great Britain, on starboard advantage, put the Australians under significant pressure and forced a penalty for not giving enough space. From then on, the British team sailed consistently well to build up a strong lead and win the first race of the day by 35 seconds.

Speaking from onboard the team's F50 immediately after the race win, Ben Ainslie said: "It's seriously hard out here with the testing conditions. We've had some issues in the past couple of days and have been trying to work them out. We've been trying some set-up changes and it was better in that race."

The team knew, however, any celebrations had to be short-lived as the British would need another strong performance in the second race to make it into the top-three and the final 'podium race'. Another clean start in the race for Great Britain saw the British round the first mark just inside and ahead of the Australian team. New Zealand SailGP Team led the race, with the British F50 just behind, but a bad manoeuvre by the Kiwis heading into the leeward gate meant the British were forced to slow behind them and drop down to fifth behind their main rivals; the Australians, French and Spanish. The race was on.

Chasing the Spanish team for the critical third place, an error in their manoeuvre in the third leg, which led to the Spanish helm Phil Robertson losing his footing, gave the British the opportunity they needed. Coming back on starboard advantage the British moved into third place. The team then took further advantage of their momentum and overtook the French to move into second on the final downwind leg.

The Great Britain SailGP Team ultimately finished the race in second, in a race won by Tom Slingsby's Australians, six seconds ahead of the Spanish in third. By finished second the British team secured their place in the final 'podium race' alongside the Australian and Spanish teams.

The final, 'winner takes all', podium race of the Bermuda SailGP proved no less thrilling. A third strong start of the day for all three teams led to a drag race to the first mark, with the British just taking the lead and managing to keep the Australians behind them in their dirty air, whilst the French split. In strengthening winds of up to 46KM/H (25 knots), control was the name of the game Great Britain's wing trimmer Iain 'Goobs' Jensen and flight controller Luke 'Parko' Parkinson expertly piloted the team's F50 to both keep the manoeuvres smooth and put as much 'dirty air' on the Australian boat behind.

The neck-and-neck action continued throughout the race, with the both the British and Australian teams splitting at several points, to seek better pressure to extend the lead or to find an overtaking lane. The British team managed to keep their noses in front and came out on top to win the podium race and with it take the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess title by just four seconds.

Speaking from onboard the team's F50 as the celebrations began, both for winning the Grand Prix and for grinder Neil Hunter's birthday, helm Ben Ainslie added:

"That was a cracking day of racing. That's what we want to do, go up against these guys in conditions like this. It was just perfect.

"I have to give huge credit to the team. We really struggled in the opening day, as you saw. We went through and analysed what was going wrong with our coach Rob Wilson and Hannah Mills overnight and it has been a big team effort.

"It still wasn't perfect, but the team just sailed the boat really well. We tried to give the Australians a little luff out of mark one and got quite close to a penalty but then it was all on that following gybe out of the boundary and the guys nailed it. The guys onboard, especially Parko flying the boat when we weren't 100% in terms of control, did an awesome job.

SailGP resumes in Taranto for the Italy Sail Grand Prix on 5th June 2021. The Great Britain SailGP Team's home Grand Prix takes place in Plymouth on 17th and 18th July 2021.

Related Articles

Strong 2nd place for GBR in SailGP Season 3 opener
Nine valuable Championship points in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix The Great Britain SailGP Team secured a strong second place and nine valuable Championship points in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess, the opening event of SailGP Season 3. Posted on 15 May
2 GBR race wins on opening day of SailGP Season 3
Described on the live broadcast as a 'win sandwich day' Described on the live broadcast as a 'win sandwich day', the opening day in Bermuda saw Ben Ainslie's British Team finish in second place overall, with two race wins sliced either side of an eighth placed race filling from the days three races. Posted on 15 May
Second in San Francisco for GBR
Both on, and off the water in the Impact League SailGP Season 2 ended on a positive note for Ben Ainslie's Great Britain SailGP Team with the team finishing in second place both in the San Francisco Sail Grand Prix, and in SailGP's Podium for the Planet, the Impact League. Posted on 28 Mar
New climate education platform launched
By Sir Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills OBE and the Great Britain SailGP Sir Ben Ainslie, Hannah Mills OBE and the Great Britain SailGP Team have declared their ambition to help over 1 million young people take action to protect nature, people and the planet as the new Protect Our Future climate education platform launched. Posted on 24 Mar
Great Britain SailGP Team out of contention
After collision with the Japan SailGP Team in Sydney The Great British SailGP Team are out of the Australian Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG, after a collision with the Japan SailGP Team in the final race of the opening day. Posted on 17 Dec 2021
Great Britain SailGP Team aiming for Sydney repeat
With Nick Hutton and Hannah Diamond back on the team With only two events remaining in the SailGP Season 2 calendar, the race to qualify for the $1million prize winner-takes-all podium race in San Francisco is heating up. The Great Britain SailGP Team currently sits in fourth place overall. Posted on 16 Dec 2021
Great Britain SailGP Team Podium Race Pitchpole
In dramatic Spain Sail Grand Prix final day The second and final day of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz-Andalusia brought a significant change in conditions, as 30-40KM/H gusts blowing from the city on the east met the Atlantic swell from the west Posted on 10 Oct 2021
Small margins and close calls
On the opening day of the Spain Sail Grand Prix Photo finish, penalties and points on the board for Great Britain SailGP Team as racing got under way in Cadiz at the Spain Sail Grand Prix. Posted on 9 Oct 2021
Great Britain SailGP Team target improved result
In Spain Sail Grand Prix this weekend After a frustrating finish in Saint-Tropez saw the Great Britain SailGP Team drop to fourth in the overall Championship leaderboard, the British team, led by Ben Ainslie, is out to make amends this weekend in Cadiz-Andalusia. Posted on 8 Oct 2021
Great Britain SailGP Team take franchise ownership
Ben Ainslie takes a majority stake in the team Ahead of the sixth event in the global racing league's second season in Cádiz - Andalucía, the Great Britain SailGP Team has become the first of the existing eight SailGP teams to evolve to a third party owned franchise with Ben Ainslie. Posted on 6 Oct 2021
C-Tech 2021 SnuffAir 728x90 BOTTOMJ Composites 2022 - J99 FOOTERCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 1