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SailGP: A disappointing day for NZSailGP in Sydney - and serious collision on Day 1

by James Rigby/NZSailGP 17 Dec 2021 03:05 PST 18 December 2021
New Zealand SailGP Team co-helmed by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke warm-up ahead of racing on Race Day 1. Australia Sail Grand Prix © Phil Hilyard/SailGP

The New Zealand SailGP Team has it all to do on Day 2 of the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG following a disappointing outing on Sydney Harbour on Friday.

The Kiwis finished fifth, eighth and fifth in today’s three fleet races to end the day in sixth position.

New Zealand SailGP Team wing trimmer Blair Tuke said: “Today’s results were certainly disappointing. We found ourselves right in the mix in all three races but we didn’t quite manage to execute at critical times and ended up going back in the fleet.

“We need to check in when we get in those high pressure situations in races and make sure we continue to execute. We did some really good manoeuvres in the races but in general in tight situations we weren’t quite executing as well as we can so that’s really going to be a work-on for tomorrow.”

A spectacular collision between the Great Britain SailGP Team and Japan SailGP Team stunned the bumper crowd who packed the Sydney shoreline and Shark Island to watch the thrilling racing up-close.

Heading into the third and final fleet race of the day, Sir Ben Ainslie’s British team didn’t see Japan on their inside during the pre-start and crashed heavily, ripping the bow off the starboard side of the Japanese boat.

Fortunately all crew onboard were reported as safe, but the damage sustained will almost certainly rule Japan out of the event, denying Nathan Outteridge a shot at taking out the title in his native Australia.

The New Zealand SailGP Team had front row seats to watch the action unfold. Tuke said: “It was certainly a pretty big crash and a scary thing to see happen. We had a clear view of it as we were the boat directly behind when it happened. It’s just lucky everyone is safe but it obviously caused quite a lot of damage to the Japanese boat.”

While it was a day to forget for Ainslie, Kiwi Phil Robertson enjoyed a superb afternoon on the Harbour to win the opening race and lead the Spain SailGP Team to a commanding lead on top of the event table, five points clear of hosts Australia.

Heavier winds are expected tomorrow so the F50s will be configured with high speed boards and high speed rudders.

Tuke said the team was focussed on two strong performances in the final two fleet races tomorrow for the chance to edge into the winner-takes-all final podium race.

“We’ve got to come out firing tomorrow and put together two good races and see how it all shakes up but that’s our absolute focus.”

Day 2 of the Australia Sail Grand Prix kicks off at 6pm NZT on Sky Sport 2.

SailGP Season 2 Schedule

  • December 17-18, 2021 Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG | Sydney
  • March 26-27, 2022 United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)

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