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SailGP: Kiwi team out of action for second successive event - won't sail at Taranto

by Sail-World.com/nz/SailGP 15 Sep 2023 18:29 PDT
New Zealand SailGP Team members carry the damaged wing back to the team hangar on Race Day 1 of the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, France. Sept 9, 2023 © Ian Walton/SailGP

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.

As such, New Zealand will not be able to compete in the Rockwool Italy Sail Grand Prix on 23-24 September. The news follows the full structural failure of the team’s wingsail – caused by the wing coming out of alignment – last weekend in Saint-Tropez.

SailGP is now working towards a solution to get Amokura back on the startline on 14-15 October in Cádiz, Spain and is currently reviewing its rules around redress in consultation with the teams.

New Zealand driver and team co-CEO Peter Burling said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to be unable to race in next weekend’s event for our team, fans, partners, friends and family.”

Following the incident and immediate recovery, SailGP began swiftly investigating options to transport the fleet’s spare wing from New Zealand to Italy and fit it out such that it would be ready to race at the upcoming event. Unfortunately, that has not been possible; in addition to shipment timelines, the new wingsail will require extensive setup and testing once it arrives on-site and the short lead-time between events makes it impossible to get the team on the startline in Taranto.

Wing trimmer and co-CEO Blair Tuke said, “We’re working closely with the league to chart a path forward from here. That includes reviewing the rules for redress and compensatory points to ensure this forced non participation does not further hinder our results this season.”

Normal yacht racing rules provide that a boat shall be entitled to redress for incidents that are no fault of her own, and made significantly worse by any one of four conditions. None of these apply to the situation of supplied boats maintained and set up by the SailGP Shore team operating out of the Tech base at each venue. The normal situation had Redress applied in the Kiwis case, would be to score points for the series, that same as for their place in the overall standings in all races in which they competed in the event. Or, that they receive average points for the events sailed prior to the incident, or some other equitable arrangement. determined by the International Jury.

While the announcement comes as a setback for the Kiwis, Tuke said, “As a group, we’re really proud of how we’ve been sailing, and how we bounced back on day one in Saint-Tropez after a difficult event in Los Angeles. It’s incredibly disappointing to not be able to build on that momentum, but we’ve faced adversity before and we will come back stronger in Cádiz, and for the rest of the season.”

Further updates would be shared as soon as they are available. A full report of the incident can be found here .

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