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Great Britain and Switzerland take race wins but Canada leads after opening day in New York

Yacht Racing Podcast

Phil Robertson and the Canada SailGP Team have bounced back from disappointment in Halifax – finishing top of the leaderboard on opening day in New York.

Robertson said: “I think it would be a common statement to say that it was tricky conditions and difficult just to keep the boat flying, with a lot of current so some tough moments to get the team through. But we had a couple of good results and yes – on top of the leaderboard.”

But Robertson’s rival and driver of the U.S. SailGP Team, Taylor Canfield, didn’t quite have the homecoming he’d hoped for.

The Americans finished 10th in both of today’s fleet races, adding to a string of losses which now totals five in as many fleet races. With Germany entering the weekend docked four-event points for contact in practice, Canfield and his team managed to come away 9th on the event leaderboard after day one, despite consecutive losses.

Canfield said: “Incredibly difficult and not what we were expecting when we showed up this morning. It was very transitional, shifty, up-and-down and frustrating, of course. We had moments of brilliance, but we have a lot of work to do. It’s so cool sailing in front of the home crowd – the adrenaline was there and it got us pumped up. We had a little moment on board after we did the fly by and heard everyone cheering and said ‘let’s go do this’. We are grateful for everyone that came out and everyone trusting our process.”

Saturday’s third scheduled fleet race was abandoned shortly after starting when wind conditions were deemed too light to ensure a fair race.

‘Wind whisperer’, Nathan Outteridge leaned on experience – having won SailGP’s inaugural New York Sail Grand Prix in 2019. Outteridge drove his Swiss SailGP Team to a second-place position in the event leaderboard, finishing sixth and first in Fleet Races 1 and 2, respectively. The performance marked a welcome turnaround for the Swiss crew who has not quite found their form despite Outteridge’s influence.

Commenting on today’s results, Outteridge said: “It was a great day for us – in tricky conditions, it all probably came down to a better executed start. The team is obviously getting better and better; the handling is improving and it’s allowing me to get my head out of the boat a bit more. Will really stepped it up in his communication. We should’ve probably been in the top four in race one, so we’ll review that and look to go better again tomorrow.”

Elsewhere, Emirates Great Britain picked up where they left off in Halifax, securing victory in Fleet Race One of the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix.

Driver Giles Scott said: “We got off to a good one, and got a race win in race one. I’m excited for tomorrow to see how it goes – I’m sure there will be lessons from today; we’ll look over everything with Coach Roaby and ready ourselves for tomorrow morning.”

Tom Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team also came out firing, putting their dramatic Halifax capsize firmly behind them, finishing the opening day in fourth and most importantly, ahead of their rivals in the battle for third – Spain, Denmark and France.

Slingsby said: “The first race was nice; it felt like a good, competitive, fun race and then unfortunately the weather didn’t play ball – we had some opportunities and just didn’t quite execute. So we’re rolling into tomorrow, and just need a couple of good races and try to make those points.”

With a comfortable lead, Peter Burling’s Black Foils rounded out the event leaderboard in third.

Burling said: “The foiling/not-foiling conditions really reward sailing under pressure and having good boat handling, making good decisions – it felt like we were coming through the pack pretty well in both races. We’ve got these really amazing venues like we have here, and this is definitely a shifty racetrack for a pretty big sport like this.”

And the abandonment of Fleet Race 3 didn’t mark the end of festivities in the sold out Race Stadium on Governors Island. Fans were treated to a special après-sail performance by electronic dance music duo Loud Luxury, who delivered a waterfront spectacular performance live from a purpose-built, on-water stage.

With the penultimate event of the SailGP Season 4 Calendar and the San Francisco Grand Final just weeks away, New York is ‘last chance saloon’ for many teams hoping to be in it to win the USD $2m prize pot at next month’s winner-takes-all, three boat Grand Final.

The Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix continues tomorrow, Sunday June 23rd with racing brought forward due to inclement weather forecast in the late afternoon. Tomorrow’s racing window will now take place between 1.00 – 2.30pm ET. The SailGP Race Stadium will open at 11.30am and close at 4.00pm. See full statement here for additional details, including how to watch.

MUBADALA NEW YORK SAIL GRAND PRIX DAY ONE STANDINGS //
1 // Canada 16 points
2 // Switzerland 15 points
3 // New Zealand 14 points
4 // Emirates GBR 14 points
5 // Australia 13 points
6 // ROCKWOOL Denmark 12 points
7 // Spain 11 points
8 // France 8 points
9 // United States 2 points
10 // Germany 1 point

Main image © Bob Martin / SailGP

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