New Zealand stuns field in front of packed Plymouth shoreline with dominant day one display
Sir Ben Ainslie and Great Britain SailGP Team with work to do to make event final after mixed day of results at Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
Peter Burling and his New Zealand SailGP Team produced one of the most impressive days seen on the water in SailGP, taking 28 points from a possible 30 on day one of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth.
Burling took his team to three top-two finishes on Plymouth Sound to all but seal a place in the event final with two races still to be held. 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.
In front of thousands lining the Plymouth coast, 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.
But the day belonged to Burling, who said his team would remain focused on day two despite an outstanding opening to the event.
“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. 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,” Burling said.
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.
Slingsby said: “Today was frustrating actually, I really felt like we left a lot of points out there, to be honest. 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.
After a strong start to Season 3 it was a disappointing day for Ainslie and the Great Britain Team, but they remain in the hunt for a final appearance that would delight home fans.
Ainslie said: “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. 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.
Day two of racing starts at 2.00pm local time and is live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. Fans around the globe can check out how to watch where they are at SailGP.com/watch. For fans in Plymouth, a few final tickets are still available for Sunday but are selling fast, head to SailGP.com for more information. Racing is also available on SailGP’s YouTube channel and app.
GREAT BRITAIN SAIL GRAND PRIX | PLYMOUTH //
Day Two Racing (incl. Event Final): Sunday, July 31, 2-3.30pm British Summer Time
Commonwealth Race featuring The Duchess of Cambridge racing onboard Great Britain and Lewis Pugh – UN Ambassador for the Oceans – onboard New Zealand will take place ahead the official day’s racing.
GREAT BRITAIN SAIL GRAND PRIX | PLYMOUTH // DAY ONE 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
Individual race results can be found at SailGP.com/results.
SAILGP SEASON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after two events) //
1 // Australia // 20 points
2 // Canada // 17 points
3 // Great Britain // 17 points
4 // New Zealand // 12 points
5 // Denmark // 12 points
6 // France // 9 points
7 // United States // 9 points
8 // Spain // 8 points
9 // Switzerland // 4 points