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Australia SailGP Team touchdown on Sydney Harbour

by Australia SailGP Team 14 Dec 2021 23:39 PST 18-19 December 2021

Tom Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team, defending Season 1 champions, took to the water in Sydney's iconic harbour today in their F50 ahead of the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG where they will take on seven other national teams in the penultimate event of SailGP Season 2.

Fresh off a big win in Cádiz in October and following six events so far this season, the Australia team currently top the leaderboard in the purpose-led, global racing league. Sitting on 45 points, the team is one point clear of Nathan Outteridge's Japan SailGP Team and the United States driven by Jimmy Spithill, both on 44 points. The world's most successful Olympic sailor of all-time, Brit Sir Ben Ainslie is placed fourth. Slingsby's team is looking to claim victory on home soil and retain the lead heading into the championship's final event in San Francisco, March 26-27.

The Australia team features Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Jason Waterhouse, Olympic silver medallist and two-time Australian female sailor of the year Nina Curtis and America's Cup winner and ocean racer, wing trimmer Kyle Langford amongst its crew. Curtis is part of the Women's Pathway Program (WPP), which saw all eight teams' female athletes debut in racing at Cádiz. The WPP athletes will continue to race again here in Sydney as part of the league's better sport strategy, to drive inclusion and inspire change across the sport.

Slingsby said: "We've raced in some amazing locations this season, from Bermuda to Saint-Tropez, but nothing holds a candle to the enjoyment and comfort we get from sailing in one of the world's most beautiful harbours, here in Sydney.

"It was great to get out on the F50 today, we know that it's very limited preparation in terms of time spent on board, so we were keen to make the most of it. The beauty of SailGP is that it's the same across all the teams, so we're all coming into this with limited time aboard our identical F50s over the last couple of months, and that's where experience and the ability to adapt to different situations and excel as a team is going to come to the fore.

"We're feeling good, and while we respect the other teams and know we've got a big challenge ahead of us, we're determined to maintain that winning feeling."

All seven other boats joined the Aussies on Sydney Harbour just 48 hours before racing commences, with the technical teams working overtime to get the British and Spanish boats on the water after they suffered significant damage last time out in Cádiz.

One of the first major global events to return to New South Wales, and Australia, since the outbreak of the pandemic, SailGP sees eight national teams made up of the sport's very best athletes - representing Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, New Zealand and United States - square off on identical F50 catamarans which can reach speeds of nearly 100 kilometres per hour. The season will culminate with the Grand Final in San Francisco, March 26-27, 2022, when the champion will be determined in a single $1 million winner-takes-all final.

Race Times

  • Friday December 17 - 1600-1800 AEDT
  • Saturday December 18 - 1600-1800 AEDT

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