The Australia SailGP Team on Sunday celebrated its first event win of SailGP Season 2, being crowned champion of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix on Plymouth Sound, as a sun-drenched crowd was also treated to a race win for the home British team.
The Aussies, skippered by Tom Slingsby, beat France and the United States in the three-team winner-takes-all Final to move up to first in the Season Championship.
The Season 1 champion was defeated by Great Britain in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix Final earlier this season, but got its revenge on British waters after winning two fleet races on Day 1 – culminating in a fine performance in Sunday’s Final on Plymouth Sound.
Speaking from the Australian F50, Slingsby said: “I think, being candid with ourselves, it is easy to say we had a bad event in Italy.
“But for this event we decided we do need to look at ourselves, and we are weaker in lighter air. We needed to work on that issue, so we did that – and we came back strong.”
Billy Besson, Driver of the runners-up France, added: “The final race was really, really nice and we just tried to make it as best as we could. I am very proud of my crew and the team, so we are very happy.
“It was a really exciting weekend and we learnt a lot. We tried to make a really good start, and at the end we finished second so it’s a really nice weekend. But we need to work to beat the Australians.”
While the British could not qualify for the Final in front of its home fans, Interim Driver Paul Goodison earned the loudest cheer of the day when his team crossed the finish line to win the first race of the day. Goodison, in his final event skippering the Great Britain team, signed off his SailGP career with a fourth-place finish.
The opening race of the day, race 4, saw the comeback of Japan following a disappointing opening day in Plymouth. Despite a fine start by New Zealand, Nathan Outteridge’s team took the lead just before the halfway point and stayed there until crossing the finish line.
The home crowd on Plymouth Hoe also had something to celebrate, as the British team secured a podium finish to open the day – before doing even better in race 4 to claim victory on its home waters.
This win, finishing ahead of France and the United States, was not enough to earn Interim Driver Goodison’s team a place in the winner-takes-all Final, but it delighted the crowds and earned huge cheers from the Hoe.
Japan, winners of race 4, only managed to finish sixth in the overall rankings, scoring two points fewer than the Denmark SailGP Team presented by Rockwool – who enjoyed its best event so far with two podium finishes in the fleet racing.
New Zealand and Spain propped up the rest of the leaderboard, with the Spanish ending the weekend in last place – largely due to its Black Flag on Race Day 1 which resulted in an instant disqualification from race 3.