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SailGP: Kiwis hope to be back for Spain SailGP in Cadiz

by Natalie Fortier 25 Sep 2023 05:33 PDT 26 September 2023
The three boat Final at Italy SailGP held in Taranto suffered from a lack of wind - eventually the time limit ran out © SailGP

Emirates GBR has picked up its second consecutive event win after the Rockwool Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto three-boat final against Australia and the United States was terminated due to light winds on Sunday.

In a sharp turnaround from Saturday's conditions, the three top teams were unable to reach the third gate in the 16-minute race time limit - with winds dropping to just 7 km/h - resulting in the termination of the final. This meant the top team from the weekend's five fleet races - Emirates GBR - picked up the overall event win, while Australia and the United States finished in second and third respectively.

A key story of the day was the comeback of Jimmy Spithill's United States SailGP Team, which bounced back from an athlete injury on day one to pick up a third and first place finish in fleet racing. The third place in the final was set to go to France, but when Canada pipped Quentin Delapierre's team to the finish line in fleet race five, USA secured the third spot instead.

This weekend's scoring sees New Zealand maintain its position as fifth on the overall season leaderboard. The Kiwis were granted an automatic fifth-place finish - or six compensatory points -in Taranto after the league was unable to provide the replacement parts required for the Kiwis to race, following the full structural failure of the team's wingsail at the last event in Saint-Tropez.

Commenting from afar, New Zealand wing trimmer Blair Tuke said, "We saw some really interesting racing this weekend, with conditions right at the top end of the wind range yesterday, and at the very bottom end today."

"It was an excellent performance from the USA - they sailed great in those conditions today and I think we saw the three best-placed teams make it into the final."

Reflecting on the season standings, Tuke said: "The leaderboard really could have gone either way this weekend and in the end, we saw the front teams widen their lead. As it worked out, with Emirates GBR and Australia having strong results and Denmark and Spain not having their best performance, we've managed to stay where we are [fifth] in the standings and maintain contact with the top three teams."

With SailGP working towards a solution to get Amokura back on the startline in Cádiz in three weeks' time, Tuke said: "From here, we'll prepare for Cádiz as we would any other time; we'll make sure we have the learnings from Saint-Tropez, gather what we can from this event and plot the best way forward to get back on the water and get our season back on track."

"It's a long season and our main focus is ourselves and how we claw our way back from here," Tuke said.

SailGP - and the Kiwis - are back next month for the Spain Sail Grand Prix | Cádiz, 14-15 October CEST.

Season 4 standings after the Rockwool Italy Sail Grand Prix can be found sailgp.com/results/season-4/season-championship

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