SailGP: Australia and Japan secure finale
Published on September 20th, 2019
Marseille, France (September 20, 2019) – Tensions heightened in front of the fan-lined Seawall as Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge went head to head on the Rade Nord racecourse at the Marseille SailGP Season 1 Grand Final.
The two helmsmen traded wins ahead of the four other national teams to secure their places in the title race of the season. Following another day of fleet racing, the Australia and Japan SailGP teams will be facing off September 22 for a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.
The Japan SailGP Team came out fighting to beat long-time friend and rival Slingsby and the Australian team, winning races one and three, and showing an aggressive side that has not been witnessed this season. Outteridge is known for his tactical superiority in tough and shifting conditions like those seen during racing today, pulling out several moves to keep Slingsby and the Australians behind.
“We know we are preparing for the match race and there is a match race within the fleet race,” said Outteridge. “We will take any opportunity to practice our match racing skills as much as possible, and you saw that today. We wanted to slow the Aussies up today and put some boats between them and us to help our points. I will do more of that tomorrow but I think Tom will come out more aggressive.”
Inflamed by race one’s outcome that saw Outteridge hold Slingsby back at the start, the Australian team came back for a spectacular win in race two, coming from behind to get the better of the Japanese team.
“Knowing him as well as I do, I didn’t think he would be that aggressive!” said Slingsby. “We were not expecting it in all honesty. I thought he was going to race his own race but good on him, he caught us a bit by surprise.”
While the two boats in the championship match race looked pre-set going into the opening day, the race for the remaining podium spot was far from determined.
It was a stand-out performance for the Great Britain SailGP Team, as after not finishing races in New York and Cowes, Dylan Fletcher wanted to see the season out in style and recorded three podium positions to move up into third place overall and increase the gap from the China and United States teams.
There was drama for Rome Kirby’s young American team and his crew retired from the first two races due to technical issues with a foil. The team was able to return for race three but finished last.
As the overall SailGP Season 1 leaderboard stands, Australia has 197 points, leading Japan by a five-point margin, with both teams sufficiently ahead to have locked up the top two positions. The British team has established a firm dominance on the podium with 145 points over the, now tied United States and China teams, which both have 137 points.
SailGP’s Season 1 Grand Final continues with three more fleet races planned for tomorrow and two fleet races and the final match race scheduled for September 22, with windier conditions expected.
Day One Results:
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby, 2-1-2, 28
2. Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 1-4-1, 27
3. Great Britain, Dylan Fletcher, 3-2-3, 25
4. China, Phil Robertson, 5-3-5, 20
5. France, Billy Besson, 4-5-4, 20
6. United States, Rome Kirby, 6-6-6, 15
SailGP Season 1 Overall Leaderboard
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby, 197
2. Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 192
3. Great Britain, Dylan Fletcher, 145
4. United States, Rome Kirby, 137
5. China, Phil Robertson, 137
6. France, Billy Besson, 135
Note: Total points based on SailGP scoring.
Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and San Francisco, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric, inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States battle it out in identical wing-powered, foiling F50 catamarans, engineered to exceed 50 knots.
Sydney, Australia (February 15-16)
San Francisco, USA (May 4-5)
New York, USA (June 21-22)
Cowes, UK (August 10-11)
Marseille, France (September 20-22)
Source: SailGP, Scuttlebutt