Please select your home edition
Edition
Crewsaver Crewline LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
NeilPryde Sailing Elite Aquashield
NeilPryde Sailing Elite Aquashield

Cowes SailGP practice racing: Dylan Fletcher puts a stake in the ground at home event

by SailGP 9 Aug 2019 06:34 BST 10-11 August 2019
Cowes SailGP practise racing on Thursday evening © Sam Kurtul / www.worldofthelens.co.uk

Home town hero Dylan Fletcher and his Great Britain SailGP Team set the pace during practise racing on Thursday, placing a target on their backs ahead of their home event.

The six national teams, comprising of the world's best sailors, had their final day of practise following the King's Cup - a major sailing event hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in support of their charitable causes, taking place on the SailGP racecourse. The Brits came out firing, to win both races.

True to its mission of redefining sailing, SailGP reached a new frontier in high-performance sailing earlier in the week, when Fletcher's British team broke the 50-knot speed barrier on its home turf on the Solent, off the Isle of Wight. Fletcher didn't hold the record for long. Australia's Tom Slingsby went a knot faster on Wednesday to mark the highest speed of 51.24 knots. Overall leader Nathan Outteridge also joined the 50-knot club when the Japanese team hit 50.37 knots. The race is on to be the first to reach similar speeds during racing.

"The main thing is we did it first and on home waters. No one remembers who did it after," said Fletcher. "We just knew we had to do it before the Australians. It was such a strong day for the breeze, and it was likely they were going to be going quicker, so we were stoked to do it first, especially on home waters."

Slingsby's Australia team was not present for practise racing today. On Wednesday after breaking Fletcher's previously set speed record, the Australians broke their wing on the way to the dock.

In front of a full crowd in the SailGP Race Village at Egypt Point, Slingsby was noticeably irritated at Fletcher for breaking the 50-knot barrier first. "We weren't on the water, and I was saying congratulations to Dylan, and then I heard them saying, 'yeah it's good to get one up on Tom.' I was sitting on shore; I wasn't allowed to go sailing and within five minutes of sailing the next day we had already broken it. We aren't even reaching the limits of these boats, we were only in 20 knots of breeze, and we did 51 knots."

Given Fletcher's out-performance this week, the British squad is the team to watch. Everyone is gunning to beat the Brits on the racecourse, especially the United States' Rome Kirby, who is just one point behind Fletcher on the leaderboard.

Fierce rivalries have emerged in SailGP Season 1, and Cowes serves as the last stage before teams contend for $1 million in Marseille. At the top of the leaderboard sit long-term friends and rivals Outteridge and Slingsby, who are separated by just one point.

"The racing is getting closer and tighter, particularly against the Australians," said Outteridge. "It's usually them or us, but in New York, we saw the Americans win a race and the British win one in San Francisco, so I think it'll be closer. I don't think it's going to be a straight forward event. Looking at the weather coming, it could be quite intense."

There's no doubt SailGP Season 1 is turning out to be a close race all the way to the finish.

"We have home advantage, but I think there's also a disadvantage in being the home team because the amount of pressure on you and the expectation," said Fletcher. "Our eyes are all focused on the big prize."

With strong winds and adverse weather anticipated for the first day of racing at Cowes SailGP, it is nearly certain that the expected weather will impact the schedule on Saturday, August 10.

For more information visit SailGP.com/Cowes.

Related Articles

Catch up with the SailGP athletes
The second monthly update from SailGP This month the main focus is on the world class athletes. Go behind the scenes with the new kids on the block – the Spain SailGP Team – plus learn more about what makes the athletes tick when we uncover the mantras and mottos they live by. Posted on 27 Jun
Video Replay: New York SailGP 2019 Day 2
Stakes as high as ever for Rome Kirby and United States SailGP Team With the stakes as high as ever for Rome Kirby and United States SailGP Team, did they fend off the competition in Tom Slingsby's Australia SailGP Team? Posted on 14 Jun
Video Replay: New York SailGP 2019 Day 1
Relive the action on the Hudson River We're re-living the excitement from New York SailGP 2019, with the stakes as high as ever for Rome Kirby and United States SailGP Team, did they fend off the competition in Tom Slingsby's Australia SailGP Team? Posted on 13 Jun
SailGP and Oracle Winning Calls content series
Exploring the league's innovative use of data during the world's fastest sail racing Series features virtual race-viewing events with SailGP athletes to explore the league's innovative use of data during the world's fastest sail racing. Posted on 27 May
SailGP calls time-out for 2020
SailGP has determined that its racing must remain suspended for the remainder of 2020 SailGP has determined that its racing must remain suspended for the remainder of 2020. Consequently, SailGP Season 2 events will be rescheduled for 2021. Posted on 4 May
Video Replay: San Francisco SailGP 2019 Day 2
Can the Americans go all the way? Will Slingsby's Australians continue their hot streak? Are you ready for the high-stakes action from Day 2 of the 2019 San Francisco SailGP? Can the Americans helmed by Rome Kirby go all the way? Do Tom Slingsby's Australians continue their hot streak? Re-live all the drama in real time. Posted on 4 May
Video Replay: San Francisco SailGP 2019 Day 1
The Bay is calling us back... The Bay is calling us back... so we're hosting this re-watch of the 2019 San Francisco SailGP. The drama was turned all the way up as Tom Slingsby's Aussies battled it out with rivals Japan and Nathan Outteridge. Who got the upper hand? Posted on 3 May
SailGP suspends 2020 season through to end of June
As a result, New York SailGP will not take place on June 12-13 Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, SailGP has suspended its 2020 season through the end of June. Posted on 3 Apr
SailGP: The Battle for Sydney Harbour
You may know the outcome - but you haven't seen this side of the story You may know the outcome - but you haven't seen this side of the story. Watch what happens when British Olympic hero Ben Ainslie and Aussie champion Tom Slingsby go head to head at Sydney SailGP. Posted on 22 Mar
SailGP cancels San Francisco event
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Francisco SailGP event scheduled for May 2-3 has been canceled. Posted on 13 Mar