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SailGP: Black Foils survive a demanding Day 1 in New York

by Jodie Bakewell-White 23 Jun 00:19 PDT 23 June 2024
New Zealand SailGP Team helmed by Peter Burling in action on Race Day 1 of the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix in New York, USA © Ricardo Pinto/SailGP

The Blacks Foils came through a demanding opening day at Mubadala SailGP New York to be third on the leaderboard after two fleet races on the Hudson River today in front of a sell-out crowd on Governors Island.

The New Zealand team placed 5th in race one and 3rd in the second, and will go into the final day of the event just two points off the lead with Canada at the top of the event standings, Switzerland in 2nd.

In sweltering New York heat and under cloudy skies, the breeze was up and down, and as racing went on the fleet of ten F50s struggled to stay on their foils and beat the Hudson current.

It was snakes and ladders racing but driver Peter Burling says the challenging conditions aren’t all bad; “We really enjoy them to be honest. You've got to be good across the board. It really rewards sailing under pressure, having good boat handling, and making good decisions. It's cool to have a different factor this weekend.”

Strategist Liv Mackay says the team are pleased to come away in a strong position going into the final day, ‘It was definitely a tricky day out there. It was all eyes open and the team working together. We might have left a couple of points out there but we’re pretty happy overall.”

Race 3 got underway but was abandoned shortly after starting when wind conditions were deemed too light to ensure a fair race and the fleet returned to Liberty Landing with day one wrapped.

“We absolutely nailed the last start and we thought we were going to be in really good shape at mark one. You’re always a bit hard done by when they abandon and you’re the one leading, but all in all we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

With late afternoon thunderstorms forecast tomorrow (Sunday June 23rd), SailGP has made the decision to bring forward its event schedule to provide the best opportunity to stage all remaining fleet races and the winner-takes-all Final. The most exciting racing on water returns tomorrow and will now take place between 1:00-2:30pm Sunday local time (5:00-6:30am Monday NZT).

With points incredibly tight across the top seven on the leaderboard it's all to play for in the battle to secure a spot in the top three for the New York event Final.

Going into this penultimate event in New York, New Zealand tops the overall standings, entering the weekend with an eleven-point lead ahead of Spain and Australia just one point further back. Pressure weighs heavily on the entire fleet in the final push to the winner-takes-all $2 million Season 4 Grand Final in San Francisco next month (13-14 July).

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