Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

SailGP Sydney: Five teams set to contest three Final spots

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 24 Feb 01:11 PST
Germany SailGP Team save a capsize as they sail past a course marker alongside France SailGP Team on Race Day 1 of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney - February 24, 2024 © Felix Diemer/SailGP

Two points separate the top three teams after a drama packed first day of SailGP Sydney. In fact, just five points separate the top five teams - promising some keen competition on the final day of sailing.

There is a big seven point gap back to the second division, and the chances of one of that group making the three boat final are slim indeed.

There has to be a crew on the top of the leaderboard, and after Day 1 of SailGP Sydney, it was the Danish crew skippered by Nicolai Sehested that occupied the #1 after the application of the tiebreaking process.

Sehested and friends are on the same 26points after three races as the Tom Slingsby skippered Australian team, which has won the last three SailGP world championship titles. In third overall is the now Nathan Outteridge skippered NZ entry, on 24pts, just two points adrift of the top two overall.

The fourth placed French team - and the only one run as an extension of their America's Cup effort - came very close to a spectacular collision in Race 2 in an incident involving the German team as both lined up to round Mark 5, in Race 2.

The Germans came from around the back of Shark Island, aiming at the windward mark on starboard and set to cross three port tackers coming from the other side of Shark Island. Pierre Delapierre took on the challenge, and tacked onto starboard keeping clear of Erik Heil (GER) and was first into the three boat length zone, and claim rounding rights on the mark.

The German boat, which was closing fast, and had just become the give way boat. As such they were required to stay clear of both the French team and the mark. Heil looked to have a sniff at passing to windward, then had a look at squeezing through to leeward of the French, but realised that gap had closed, and instead bore off at high speed, avoiding the fourth placed French - but came close to having a high speed collision with the mark.

Next the Germans elected to luff at high speed, while still having to hold their course to allow the French to pass ahead, without taking any avoiding action. The Germans came close to a spectacular capsize, and dropping from fifth to eighth in the now-nine boat fleet.

The Kiwis, sailing with a new skipper, Nathan Outteridge, and little training as as a crew, were up and down the fleet, but showed resilience on several occasions, pull up from the peloton and score some very countable places.

The Canadian team had hydraulic issues during Race 1, and were unable to finish that race or start in the next two - scoring minimum points in each race.

Consistency was the determining factor on Day 1. Of the top three boats overall, scored across nine races, only two of those nine were outside the top three in each race. Denmark recorded 2,3,2 for 26pts; Australia recorded 1,2,4 for 26pts; and New Zealand recorded 3,5,1 placings for 24pts.

While consistency might have been the order of the day, the racing was no procession. USA and Australia looked to have Race 1 under control going into Leg 3, but the US team, sailing in just their third

The course laid around Shark Island on Sydney harbour is notorious amongst 18fter sailors for the marked vagaries of the breeze in both pressure and direction.

The sailors woes were compounded, when it was deemed that the F50 wingsailed foiling catamarans would be fitted with their All Purpose foils - meaning that the boats would be fast in a straight line, with some gust assistance, but hard to handle if the windstrength dropped unexpectedly during the racing.

That proved to be the case on Sydney Harbour, today.

Two more Qualifying races will be held on Sunday, with the top three progressing to a three-boat, winner takes all, one race, sudden death, Final.

Winds are forecast to swing to the east at a strength of 7-8kts at race time - mid-afternoon - local time.

Related Articles

SailGP: Chief Umpire unpacks dramatic incidents
SailGP's chief umpire Craig Mitchell has unpacked the penalty drama from Christchurch SailGP's chief umpire Craig Mitchell has unpacked all the penalty drama from Christchurch, which saw three teams lose season points after receiving devastating penalties. Posted on 8 Apr
Tickets now on sale for Apex Group Bermuda SailGP
Race Stadium moves to Morgan's Point to bring fans closer to the action Tickets are now on sale for the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix - the tenth event in SailGP's global calendar - taking place on May 4-5, 2024. For the first time, the world's most exciting racing on water will be hosted at Morgan's Point. Posted on 4 Apr
Painted Lines: An Artist's Story
If you've ever wondered how SailGP get the lines on the racecourse, this one's for you If you've ever wondered exactly how we get the lines on our racecourse, the answer is the one and only Otto Maddison. Armed with only his brush and a proprietary blend of sustainable water paint, no one keeps our teams in line quite like Otto. Posted on 1 Apr
Kiwi Govt promises action after SailGP capsize
Kiwi Govt leaders say they will act on bureaucracy and red tape that strangled SailGP The leaders of three parties that make up the New Zealand Coalition Government have all backed SailGP, following the organisational debacle which resulted in the suspension of racing on Saturday, triggered by the appearance of a dolphin in the start area. Posted on 25 Mar
Black Foils win ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix
New Zealand overtakes Australia as overall season leaders New Zealand's 'Black Foils' - driven by Peter Burling - today claimed victory in front of an adoring hometown crowd at the the second-annual ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch. Posted on 24 Mar
SailGP Ch'ch: Black Foils win home Final
A first leg collision with a Finish Mark has severely damaged the cross beam on the Australian F50 While SailGP Christchurch failed to deliver on the first scheduled day of racing, Kiwi fans left the Lyttelton Harbour venue thrilled with having seen some great sailing action, topped off with an end to end win for Peter Burling and the Black Foils. Posted on 24 Mar
SailGP Ch'ch: Races added to the Day 2 schedule
SailGP organisers have advised that an extra race has been added to the schedule for Race Day 2 SailGP organisers have advised that an extra race has been added to the schedule for Race Day 2, to make up for the three races not sailed on Day 1, due to a dolphin presence being detected on the racing area. Posted on 23 Mar
ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix Day 1
Racing cancelled due to mammal activity on the racecourse Racing was cancelled on the opening day of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch, due to mammal activity on the racecourse for the duration of the race window. Posted on 23 Mar
SailGP Christchurch - Day 1: Dolphins 3, SailGP 0
Day 1 of racing in SailGP Christchurch not sailed after endangered dolphins refuse to budge Day 1 of racing in SailGP Christchurch failed to get underway after a protected dolphin species entered the No-Go zone on Lyttleton Harbour. Posted on 23 Mar
New radio/social media commentary for SailGP
A new commentary, on social media is being trialled for SailGP Christchurch - hosted by Jody Shiels A new commentary, on social media, is being trialled for SailGP Christchurch - hosted by Jody Shiels the most entertaining commentator in Sailing. He is assisted by matchracer Chris Steele, and Olympian Anna Willcox Posted on 22 Mar
SOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 BottomRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERArmstrong 728x90 - MA Foil Range - BOTTOM