SailGP: Australians sail together and encounter technical problems
Taranto: It was an eventful first day of racing for the Australian Slingsby team and the league as a whole, as the teams faced off in a new crew set up in the first ever Italian Sailing Grand Prix.
Due to the lighter conditions on the Mar Grande, it was decided before the race that each boat would only have three crews instead of the usual five for the first time in league history. Slingsby had Kyle Langford as the wing trimmer, Kinley Fowler managing both the flight controller and chipper positions on the F50.
The pressure of sailing a whole new format with minimal training was compounded by serious technical issues faced by the Australian crew, with Slingsby describing the day as a “comedy of mistakes”.
Slingsby commented on the new format, saying, “Three-man sailing certainly has potential, but we just haven’t had enough practice which you need when three guys are trying to handle five roles on board. While everyone was training before the start today, we were at a standstill trying to solve our hydraulic problems.
“It’s like a tennis player who can’t warm up and has to have his first swing at the start of the game.”
The Australians finished at the bottom of the standings on day one.
Elaborating on the team’s performance, Slingsby said: “Our preparation was seriously hampered and then when we started up and the boat was running we made a lot of mistakes. My hand is up, I made a bunch of tactical mistakes.
“We’re going to sit down and analyze our mistakes and be upfront with each other and try to come back stronger tomorrow. Our number one priority is to get the boat running and to be able to do a bit of preparation on the race track before we race tomorrow.
The races will continue tomorrow in Taranto, with all teams participating in two fleet races. After the two fleet races, the top three teams in the standings will compete in a thrilling final race to crown the winner of the Taranto Sail Grand Prix.
Australian fans will be able to watch all of the action from Day 2 of racing on the SailGP app and live on official broadcasters Foxtel and Kayo Sports. Kayo Sports also offers fans free access to live and replay races.
Classification of the first day of the race:
- United States – 21 points
- JAPAN – 21 points
- Spain- 17 points
- France – 13 points
- New Zealand – 11 points
- Great Britain – 11 points
- Denmark – 9 points
- Australia-5 points