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SailGP: Black Foils extend their Season 4 lead despite missing Final in Halifax

by Jodie Bakewell-White 2 Jun 17:08 PDT 1-2 June 2024
New Zealand SailGP Team helmed by Peter Burling sails toward the spectators on Race Day 2 - Rockwell SailGP Canada - June 2, 2024 © Andrew Baker/SailGP

The Black Foils extended their overall lead in Season 4 despite finishing 5th at the Rockwool Canada Sail Grand Prix after what was a hectic final day of racing in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

F50s cracking top speeds of over 90kp/h, out-of-control manoeuvres, and a Flying Roos capsize - Championship Sunday over-delivered to the sell-out crowd lining the historic Halifax harbour who stayed for the action despite the gusty winds and rain.

Giles Scott and the Great British team took the event win, coming into day two at the top of the event table and managing to hold it together best in the chaotic conditions in Canada. Going up against France and Denmark, the Brits took the win in the final race by a clear margin securing Scott his first SailGP event victory.

The Black Foils missed the cut for today’s final race scoring two 5ths, breaking their five-event podium streak. After racing Black Foils driver Peter Burling said he wasn’t happy that they couldn’t put it all together on the race track; “We definitely found it really tricky out there. It just wasn’t really our day.”

“Going into that last race we knew we needed a reasonable one to get into the final. We got a great start and were looking in good shape, and then just slipped backwards from there which was pretty frustrating.”

“It would have been an easy weekend for us to get to the final and we felt we were sailing really well yesterday. Today it felt like we did some really good things, but we had a few absolute shockers to throw in the mix and put us behind.”

Race 4 started with a reduced fleet of seven boats after windy conditions made craning the F50s into the harbour difficult forcing a tough decision to adjust the format and get racing underway for the teams positioned top seven after day one. The Black Foils were slow off the start and left fighting back from last, managing to pick up two positions for 5th.

Eight teams contested the last fleet race with the Black Foils still in the hunt for a spot in the final race. After coming off the startline strongly the Kiwis seemingly couldn’t cut a break in the strong, variable and gusty winds. Caught up in the pack they crossed the line in 5th again and came away from event 11 with a 5th place.

Despite the weekend’s result their overall Season 4 Championship leading margin extends by a point and the Black Foils are now eleven points clear at the top of the leaderboard after event 11 (of 13) in Halifax. Just two events remain before the winner-takes-all Season 4 Grand Final.

Australia’s struggles continued, coming close to a capsize in race 4 they went on to lay the green and gold F50 right over on the last upwind leg of race 5, while leading. All athletes are accounted for and no injuries were sustained. The boat has been recovered and the extent of the damage is currently being assessed.

New Zealand came into the weekend top of the overall standings, ten points ahead of Australia, but Slingsby and team slipped to 3rd overall after this weekend’s results. Spain sneaks past Australia to hold 2nd place by a single point on the Season 4 leaderboard.

The most exciting racing on water is back in just three weeks time for event 12, Season 4 - Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix | New York City, 22-23 June 2024.

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