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Hot start for Kiwis at Plymouth SailGP

Published on July 30th, 2022

Plymouth, UK (July 30, 2022) – Peter Burling and his New Zealand SailGP Team produced one of the most impressive days seen on the water in SailGP, posting all top-two finishes on Plymouth Sound to all but seal a place in the event final with two races still to be held.

“Obviously it’s nice to come out and get a fair few more points on the board than we have managed in our SailGP careers,” noted Burling. “We just made a few subtle tweaks and I think we have been showing for a long time we were getting closer to putting together a perfect day. I think we managed that today.”

The other two places in the top-three are occupied by the Australian team, which claimed the day’s second race, and France, who managed two top three finishes on an impressive day of racing from Quentin Delapierre.

As has become custom in SailGP, Australia finds itself in the top three in the standings, but driver Tom Slingsby said he felt there was a lot of room for improvement. “Today was frustrating actually, I really felt like we left a lot of points out there, to be honest,” said Slingsby. “Overall the team spirit is high and I’m proud we fought back from some bad positions but it’s ultimately a frustrating day.”

On one of the better days on the water for the France SailGP Team, it sits third after day one, and stands a good chance of a first event final for Delapierre.

“I like our mindset, the learning curve is going well, it was a really good day for the team, I’m feeling positive,” Delapierre said.

Conversely, local favorite Sir Ben Ainslie left himself with a significant amount of work to do for tomorrow’s final, as a series of poor starts saw him finish no higher than fourth in the day’s racing.

“It really wasn’t a great day for us, we made life really, really hard for ourselves with our starts, I mean, three bad starts,” shared Ainslie. “We actually did a good job after that to get back in it but we have left ourselves with a ton of work to do.”

Not much went right for Ainslie, with race one also involving a collision with Spain, after which Jordi Xammar’s team was docked four penalty points.

“We were fighting for the bottom end of the line and so were the Spanish – we were there on the gun and they tried to come in tight and there wasn’t really enough room,” Ainslie said.

As for the USA team, their hopes for a rebound after a slow start to the season remains elusive.

“I thought our speed was good, and in the majority of racing we sailed well, but in a few key areas we struggled,” explained Spithill. “If you make a small mistake, man, you’re going to pay for it. And that happened to us in every race today.”

Searching for positives, Spithill pointed to their improved starts. “We were getting to mark one in great shape, but unfortunately in key maneuvers we weren’t able to execute together and that cost us.”

The team stayed out after racing to capitalize on the needed extra training time. “We are using every opportunity we can get to get more time in and get more reps in.

“We win and lose as a team. We all need to step our game up, and we will,” Spithill said. “We don’t yet have the consistency or a complete package in a race, but we will come out tomorrow with the goal of getting a clean race in. We’re not going to shy away from the challenge.”

Standings (after 3 races)
1. New Zealand, 28 points
2. Australia, 22 points
3. France, 22 points
4. Canada, 20 points
5. Great Britain, 19 points
6. Denmark, 18 points
7. Switzerland, 13 points
8. United States, 11 points
9. Spain, 5 points

SailGP informationPlymouth detailsSeason 3 scoreboardFacebookHow to watch

Season Three Standings (after two events)
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby – 20 points
2. Canada, Phil Robertson – 17 points
3. Great Britain, Ben Ainslie – 17 points
4. New Zealand, Peter Burling – 12 points
5. Denmark, Nicolai Sehested – 12 points
6. France, Quentin Delapierre – 9 points
7. United States, Jimmy Spithill – 9 points
8. Spain, Jordi Xammar – 8 points
9. Switzerland, Sébastien Schneiter – 4 points

2022-23 SailGP Season 3 Schedule
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31, 2022 – Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 18-19, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 9-10, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 23-24, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 11-12, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 18-19, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 17-18, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)

Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize money to be split among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.

For competition documents, click here.

Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans for event prize money as the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.

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