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Australia SailGP Team touchdown in San Francisco

by Olivia Hogan 21 Mar 06:20 GMT 26-27 March 2022
Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby in action during a practice session ahead of San Francisco SailGP, Season 2 in San Francisco, USA. 20th March © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

Practice commences ahead of the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix and $1 million dollar grand final

Tom Slingsby and the Australian SailGP Team's revolutionary F50, emblazoned with a giant kangaroo, set sail for the first time today in San Francisco, ahead of the championship-deciding Season 2 Grand Final, the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix, on March 26-27.

Tom Slingsby said: "It was a great day of training for us. We had beautiful conditions with 15 knots of flat water and were able to tick off a lot of things, which included practising a few moves for this weekend."

The team's first practice session delivered a glimpse of what to expect when Australia takes on the seven other national teams in San Francisco. Following their victory at the Australia Sail Grand Prix, Slingsby's team has already qualified for the March 27 season-deciding Grand Final alongside Jimmy Spithill's U.S Team. The weekend's racing will consist of five fleet races to complete the qualification, deciding the third team that will join in the final, winner-take-all race to claim sailing's top purse, $1 million.

Tom Slingsby said: "The level was really high today from all of the teams on the water. It was tough to gain any advantage over our rivals in speed. I would say the British were really strong and the USA were strong, but we still stayed in the mix. Fans can expect some really close racing this weekend."

The Australia team features Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Jason Waterhouse, Olympic silver medalist and two-time Australian female sailor of the year Nina Curtis and America's Cup winner and ocean racer, wing trimmer Kyle Langford amongst its crew. Curtis is part of the Women's Pathway Program (WPP), which saw all eight teams' female athletes debut in racing at Cádiz. The WPP athletes will continue to race again here in San Francisco as part of the league's better sport strategy, to drive inclusion and inspire change across the sport.

Alongside the SailGP Season 2 Championship, for the first time ever, a second podium will also take place on the Sunday to crown the Impact League winner - the league's second podium for the planet. SailGP's Impact League is a world-first, integrated initiative to make sustainability essential to the fabric of the sport and accelerate the transition to clean energy.

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