April 22, 2024

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New Zealand were unstoppable with the USA on two points

New Zealand were unstoppable with the USA on two points


Updated at 7:01 p.m.

The good form of the New Zealand SailGP team saw them take two wins in the fleet race to remain at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of the French Sail Grand Prix.

The New Zealanders’ two wins, combined with Australia’s single win, allowed them to finish the day with 27 points, two ahead of the USA, second, and five ahead of the Aussies.

The French team, who showed great improvement in the last two events, have just one point from the top three stages, helped a lot by finishing second in the last race of the day, in which Quentin Delabier also set a new SailGP race speed record of 99.94 km/h.

Great Britain, Spain, Denmark and Canada will be vying for a much tighter midfield ahead of the second day of racing, while Switzerland, penalized four points for clashing with the United States in practice on Friday, remain on the table with nine points.

New Zealand looked certain to overtake Australia in the second race, but the Australians’ reaction to a daring maneuver by Peter Burling saw the starboard skid hit the water during the 90km/h stage. pace, which allowed the Kiwis to overtake them and take the winning position.

The same incident damaged Australia’s F50, but quick work by the shore crew saw them ready for the second race of the day, with Tom Slingsby showing his undeniable character to lead the Australians to victory despite the damage.

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The United States finished second in the tournament; Jimmy Spithill’s excellent performance on a remarkably consistent day saw his team never once finish outside the top three. America have lacked this consistency in season three and will be hoping to turn a corner in the second half of the campaign.

Despite the Australians winning the second race of the fleet, New Zealand came out on top again in the last race of the day, beating record holders France and the United States to take 27 points.

The Kiwis hope to continue their dominance – nine wins from the last 11 races – in Plymouth, Copenhagen and St-Tropez when the French sailing Grand Prix resumes at 14:30 on Sunday.