Great Britain wins SailGP Saint-Tropez
Published on September 10th, 2023
Ben Ainslie’s Emirates GBR has triumphed at Sail Grand Prix taking place in Saint-Tropez, beating Season 3 champions Australia and Los Angeles victors Spain in a dramatic sprint to the finish line.
Held on September 9-10, the triumph ends a long-running win drought for the British team, which last won an event at Season 2’s Bermuda Sail Grand Prix in May 2021.
The three-boat Final was tense from the gun, with Australia and Emirates GBR going head to head on the start line. It was the Brits who won the best start – crossing the line with just 0.27 seconds to go and traveling faster than both their competitors.
But the Aussies recovered well to secure the all-important inside track to Mark 1, with Emirates GBR losing the lead on the second leg of the race. From there, Ainslie’s crew fought tooth-and-nail to minimize maneuvers and maximize fly time and made massive gains to ultimately overtake Australia on the penultimate leg of the race.
The winner-takes-all Final was highlighted by a last-minute pass as Australia sought to tack in front of Emirates GBR prior to the final upwind mark, with the Brits scooting through to leeward while scoring a penalty on the Aussies.
The first day ended with Denmark, New Zealand, USA and Great Britain separated by one point at the top of the leaderboard, but the Kiwi team lost their rig after the racing and were unable to compete on the final day.
The last two fleet races of the event were packed with drama, with ROCKWOOL Denmark narrowly missing out on a place in the Final after a disastrous error on the finish line of the 5th fleet race.
Nicolai Sehested’s crew, under pressure to beat Emirates GBR, pushed the team out wide at the final mark rounding. But the aggressive move backfired, and left the Danes trailing in the wake of the Brits.
Elsewhere, congested points saw five teams fighting to get into the Final – with furious battles taking place between Spain, Denmark, Australia, USA, and Great Britain.
But it was a disappointing day for home favorites France, which finished the event with an 8-2-4-9-9 fleet race record to finish in 6th overall.
The refreshed season standings see Australia maintain its first-place position with 26 points, ahead of Spain in second with 24, and Denmark in third with 23.
The SailGP fleet will next meet at the Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto on September 23-24.
Final Results – Saint-Tropez
1. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 2-8-3-1-3-(1)
2. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 5-1-8-5-1-(2)
3. Spain (Diego Botin), 6-4-7-2-2-(3)
4. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 3-7-2-4-6
5. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 9-3-1-8-7
6. France (Quintin Delapierre), 8-2-4-9-9
7. Germany (Erik Heil), 7-9-6-7-4
8. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-6-5-DNC/10-DNC/10
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 4-10-10-6-5
10. Canada (Phil Robertson), 10-5-9-3-8
• Canada SailGP Team penalized eight points for making contact with Spain SailGP Team
• New Zealand SailGP Team unable to take part in Race Day 2 due to collapsed F50 wing at end of Race Day 1
Season Standings (after three of 12 events; results and total points)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 2-3-2; 26 points
2. Spain (Diego Botin), 5-1-3; 24
3. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 4-2-4; 23
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 7-6-1; 19
5. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-7-8; 17
6. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 9-5-5; 14
7. France (Quintin Delapierre), 6-8-6; 13
8. Canada (Phil Robertson), 3-4-10; 12
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 8-9-9; 7
10. Germany (Erik Heil), 10-10-7; 4
• Canada SailGP Team: Docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
• Germany SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix
Season 4 – 2023
June 16-17 – Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 22-23 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Los Angeles
September 9-10 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 23-24 – Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto
October 14-15 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía- Cádiz
Season 4 – 2024
January 13-14 – UAE Sail Grand Prix | Venue to be announced
February 24-25 – KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 23-24 – ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Auckland
May 4-5 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix
June 1-2 – Canada Sail Grand Prix | Venue to be announced
June 22-23 – United States Sail Grand Prix | New York
July 13-14 – SailGP Season 4 Grand Final | San Francisco
Format for Season 4:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• Up to seven qualifying fleet races of approximately 15 minutes may be scheduled for each regatta.
• The top three teams from qualifying advance to a final race to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000.00 USD event prize money purse that’s divided among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race for the top three teams in the season standing with the winner claiming the $1m USD prize.
For competition documents, click here.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing among national teams in some of the iconic harbors around the globe.