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NZSailGP fights back to be fifth overall after a light air Day 1 Plymouth

by James Rigby 17 Jul 14:16 PDT 18 July 2021
Spain SailGP Team co-helmed by Florian Trittel and Phil Robertson ahead of Japan SailGP Team, France SailGP Team and New Zealand SailGP Team in action on race day 1 of Great Britain SailGP, Event 3, Season 2 in Plymouth, UK 17 July . © Ricardo Pinto/SailGP

The New Zealand SailGP Team is still in the hunt for the final podium race at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix following a mixed first day of racing in Plymouth earlier this morning.

The New Zealand SailGP Team finished sixth, sixth and fourth in the three fleet races to end the day in fifth place overall on 11 points.

Defending champions, the Australia SailGP Team, resumed its impressive form after a disappointing regatta in Italy to dominate the first two races before finishing seventh in the third race as Jimmy Spithill’s USA SailGP Team clinched first place to end the day at the top of the leaderboard on 19 points.

Thousands of fans flocked to Britain’s Ocean City on a balmy summer’s day, including a passionate New Zealand contingent both on and off the water, and they were treated to a thrilling spectacle of racing.

Despite light winds, all teams were restored to their full complement of five athletes onboard after practicing yesterday with just three.

The Spain SailGP Team, with Kiwi driver Phil Robertson, became the first team in SailGP to receive a black flag, sailing’s equivalent of a red card in football, after a dramatic pre-start infringement in the final race of the day.

A new-look New Zealand SailGP Team was without several of its frontline athletes who are representing New Zealand at the Olympics, but it showed plenty of fighting spirit and determination to remain in contention for the podium race tomorrow.

Interim driver Arnaud Psarofaghis said: “It was a really nice first day for us. We are in the mix.

“We did improve a lot throughout the day and we are pushing really hard to be ahead of our opponents. We had good speed, good manoeuvres and we just had great fun out there today. I hope tomorrow it’s going to be a little bit windier so we can have some better races.”

Interim wing trimmer Jason Saunders said: “It was a good day. We would have hoped for a little bit better in a couple of races but we finished with a nice race and we certainly improved our manoeuvres a lot during the day.

“We had the opportunity to have some better results if we’d nailed a couple more manoeuvres and that just comes with the fact that we are a newer team and we’re going to make some mistakes but we certainly put the boat in some good positions and I think tomorrow if we execute what we executed in that last race we should be in good shape.”

Psarofaghis said it was fantastic to see such a strong showing of support for the New Zealand SailGP Team in Plymouth.

“We felt the support of the Kiwi fans onshore and on the water. We saw a few boats out there and it was great that everyone turned up to watch all the races and I hope we can put on a show that they deserve tomorrow.”

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