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Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

From setback to triumph: Australians lead leaderboard in Bermuda

by Australia SailGP Team 4 May 15:53 PDT 4-5 May 2024
Spectators on the grandstand in the Race Stadium applaud Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby as they cross the finish line on Race Day 1 of the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix in Bermuda © Kieran Cleeves for SailGP

Tom Slingsby and his Australian squad unleashed a masterful comeback performance at the opening day of the Apex Bermuda Sail Grand Prix, securing their seat at the top of the leaderboard.

After the Australians' devastating collision in Christchurch, which incurred the most severe penalty in SailGP history with 12 event points and 8 season points, Slingsby's focus was on redemption for the team.

The contentious penalty coupled with major repairs to the Flying Roo in the lead up to racing put the pressure on the Australians, but despite facing adversity Slingsby and his crew remained undeterred, channelling their champion spirit to deliver two first places and a third place in the opening day of Bermuda.

Tom Slingsby said: "Christchurch was upsetting for us. It's the first time we have ever had a collision like that so it probably affected us more than other teams. It would have been easy for us to go out there today and hesitate at times and take our foot off the accelerator after what happened. But it was quite the opposite in that whenever we saw an opportunity we took it, we didn't back away and I'm so proud of the team for that."

The Australia Team's secret to success was their near perfect starts, which Slingsby commented on saying, "It felt like the Australia of old where we get good starts and are then hard to catch. We were happy all day. It was just one of those good ones."

The tight racing saw teams leave nothing to play for with aggressive moves being witnessed across the fleet during racing. Denmark's Nicolai Sehested delivered what commentators described as a 'grizzly bear move' pushing the Australians out of the finish line in the third fleet race to snatch their second place position.

Tom Slingsby said: "It was a bit odd from Nicolai you don't normally really see that sort of aggression from him. It could be a new side to him, let's see."

Following the United States SailGP Team's dramatic capsize in official practice racing and the significant damage to the F50's wingsail, it was confirmed that the US Team would not be able to compete in the Bermuda event.

Mike Buckley, CEO of the US Team said, "Unfortunately our race weekend is now over after yesterday's high-speed crash during practice racing, and while thankfully our athletes are all ok, there was significant damage to the F50. Unfortunately it is not repairable in time for us to get back on the water for racing here in Bermuda. We are extremely disappointed."

All is left to play for when racing continues tomorrow where the winner will be crowned in the winner-takes-all podium final.

Tom Slingsby said, "The event is far from over and we need to make that final and work on what we need to do to be effective in that race. New Zealand has had our number this season and we are all aware of that. We are not shying away from that or making excuses, it's exciting for us to start chipping away and win those final races more often."

The racing will commence on Monday 06 May at 3:00AM in Australia live on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.

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