Please select your home edition
North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

SailGP: Slingsby wins Grand Final and $1million in tight battle with Kiwis

by Richard Gladwell/ 7 May 18:32 PDT 8 May 2023
New Zealand SailGP Team and Australia SailGP Team pass the finish marker on Race Day 2 of the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco, USA. Sunday, May 7, 2023 © Ricardo Pinto/SailGP

Australia SailGP crew led by Tom Slingsby led from start to finish in the Grand Final sailed on San Francisco Bay to win by a narrow margin from a fast finishing New Zealand crew.

The New Zealand comeback was at odds with their performance in the earlier stanzas of the six race series, where their best place was a third in one of the five races.

Australia SailGP added the Season 3 title to their Season 1 and 2 wins, and won their third $1million winner takes all purse.

The third Grand Finalist was Emirates Great Britain, skippered by the greatest sailing Olympian, Ben Ainslie.

The British and Australians dominated the racing in the five preliminary events, with the New Zealanders looking to have serious flaws in their boatspeed, tactics and startline performance.

Slingsby and Burling locked horns in the final stages of the Grand Final start, with Slingsby getting control of the three-boat match race to leeward of the Kiwis, luffing Burling, before breaking off to make the final run for the startline.

The Kiwis made a better fist of this tactic than in previous races, hitting the line at the same time as Emirates GB and Australia, with their option being to try and drive over the top of the other two and gaining the lead at Mark 1, despite sailing a longer distance.

They just missed getting into a position where they could cross Slingsby, while Ainslie grabbed the inside berth and was first to gybe away.

Burling was still the give way boat and at the mercy of Slingsby to be able to make their gybe at the top of Leg 2. The Kiwis were pushed close to the course boundary before Slingsby released control, and they started Leg 2, trailing Ainslie and Slingsby - with the Final looking set to be a rerun of what had been seen in the previous five fleet races.

The Brits and Australians had the race under control in the final stages of Leg 4 of 6, with Burling and friends over 230 metres behind with 1400metres left on the leg. The Kiwis had trailed the race leaders around the previous mark, and their only tactical option to save the Final was to split gybes and opt for the City shore, where the pressure was highly variable, causing Australia to fall off their foils in the previous leg.

As they gybed off the shore, Burling got a sniff of what Italian AC Challenger Luna Rossa co-helmsman Francesco Bruni termed the "Kiwi Puff", in the last America's Cup. Coming across the course to get between Ainslie and Slingsby, and disrupting their procession on the other side, with both sailing downwind at speeds of over 35kts. Burling was doing a similar speed, but came out at a much deeper angle, cutting Slingsby's lead down to 100 metres.

Burling continued the tactic of splitting sides with the race leaders, trailing by just 9secs at the penultimate mark.

The ""Kiwi Puff" was not on the San Francisco shore catching Emirates GB, dropping them off theor foils on the first tack and turning the Grand Final into a two-boat race. Burling could now focus on attacking Slingsby, whose only tactical option was to stay between "his man and the hoop" to defend his 100metre lead, with 300 metres left to sail on the leg, before heading for the finish.

Burling tacked at the 300metre mark, with Slingsby responding on the 200metre line, and promptly fell off his foils - with Burling in hot pursuit at almost 30kts with Slingsby struggling at 18kts and needing to get back onto his foils. To add to the tension both were coming into the Final mark on port tack, with one last tack remaining.

As they simo-tacked for the final mark, the separation closed down to 19 metres, with Burling to leeward. It was then a race to gain rights mark rounding, which Slingsby was able to achieve by 23 metres, or just over a boat length, stretching out to 35metres for the final short fast reach to the Finish line and the $1million prize.

Burling's only hope was for a foil control error by the Australians - but it was not to be - and it was a very relieved and jubilant Australian crew who took the race and the winner take all prize.

The Kiwis were 6secs in arrears with Emirates GB 23secs behind Australia.

Additional Images:

Related Articles

SailGP Technologies relocating to Southampton
Rocket Lab to take over SailGP's Warkworth manufacturing complex Rocket Lab USA, Inc, has acquired SailGP Technologies' world-class manufacturing complex in Warkworth, NZ – bolstering the company's NZ business and retaining more than 90% of SailGP Technologies NZ based staff. Posted on 2 Oct
Halifax to host ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix
First ever Canadian SailGP to take place June 1-2, 2024 Halifax has been selected as the first-ever city in Canada to host a Sail Grand Prix. The inaugural ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix will take place June 1-2, 2024. Posted on 27 Sep
SailGP and Women's Sports Group join forces
WSG to provide advisory services on commercial partnerships In a year that has seen explosive growth in the interest and investment of women's sport, the Women's Sports Group (WSG) is joining forces with SailGP, the world's most exciting racing on water, to supercharge its game-changing Women's Pathway. Posted on 26 Sep
Emirates Great Britain secure back to back wins
Winning the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix title in Toranto After a weekend of two halves, Ben Ainslie's Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team has secured back to back wins, adding the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix title to his France Sail Grand Prix win from two weeks ago in Saint-Tropez. Posted on 24 Sep
Emirates Great Britain lead the fleet
On opening day of Italy Sail Grand Prix Following an event win in Saint-Tropez only two weeks ago, the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team put in three solid races - in challenging conditions - with a 2-3-3 race record for on the opening day of the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto. Posted on 23 Sep
SailGP: Wingless Kiwis awarded redress
Skipper Peter Burling disappointed the basis of redress decision calculation NZSailGP Skipper Peter Burling said he was disappointed the decision was based on average points across the fleet, rather than the team's performance so far this season. Posted on 22 Sep
Rockwool Sail Grand Prix Italy: 24 hours to go
Emirates Great Britain's Saint-Tropez win ignites the team in Taranto With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the ROCKWOOL Sail Grand Prix Italy | Taranto, the league has returned to the waters of Mar Grande for a second time for the fourth event of SailGP Season 4. Posted on 22 Sep
SailGP: Kiwi team out of action for Taranto
New Kiwi wingsail proves too difficult prior to next SailGP event- Burling incredibly disappointed SailGP has announced today (Sept 16) that it will not be possible to transport and fit out the replacement wing sail for the New Zealand SailGP Team in time for the next event in Taranto, Italy. Posted on 16 Sep
SailGP & Mubadala present AbuDhabi Sail Grand Prix
Bringing the world's most exciting racing on water to UAE's capital for the first time Abu Dhabi will host the world's most exciting racing on water as it gears up for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix. Posted on 13 Sep
France Sail Grand Prix in Saint Tropez overall
Emirates Great Britain prevail in superb final race Sir Ben Ainslie and his Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team ended a two and half year event win drought with a masterful performance at the France Sail Grand Prix final. Posted on 10 Sep
Lloyd Stevenson - Equilibrium 728x90px BOTTOMCyclops Marine 2023 October - FOOTERRooster 2023 - Aquafleece - FOOTER