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Australia SailGP are top of podium following brutal conditions D1 at Spain Sail Grand Prix

by Olivia Hogan / Australia SailGP Team 25 Sep 01:09 BST 24-25 September 2022
Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby on Race Day 1 of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain. 24th September © Bob Martin for SailGP

Tom Slingsby’s Australia Team has survived and thrived in the brutal conditions faced during the first day of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz, finishing at the top of the podium.

Tom Slingsby likened the conditions to being ‘thrown into a washing machine’, with the huge swell and shifty breeze causing teams to struggle to keep their foils in the water and their boats in the air. Teams had to adapt quickly to the conditions, with any error being punished amid a congested fleet.

But Slinbsy’s crew was able to secure a 6th,1st and 2nd place in the three fleet races, which puts them in equal first place in the day one standings, against Quentin Delapierre’s French Team.

Tom Slingsby said: “The waves were like a washing machine out there, they were bouncing off the break wall and coming back at us. You're always on the edge in those conditions, you are only one crash away from going from first place to last place, even if you have a solid lead.”

“We sailed really well all things considered and Jason Waterhouse has to be MVP, the flight controller had such a tough job in those conditions.”

Famed as the best flight controller in the league, Australia’s Jason Waterhouse said: “In that position you are either the hero or the villain on board and today you had to have laser focus to keep the boat flying. Tomorrow is looking to be even tougher with bigger waves predicted.”

The Australians have been unseated by the Kiwis as the favourite to win in two events now, with Slingsby feeling the pressure to do well at this event to maintain his position at the top of the Season 3 leaderboard, with a mere one point separating them from Burling’s New Zealand Team in second place. However, following today’s racing the Australians now sit with a 3 point lead to Burling’s New Zealand side who are in equal 5th place to USA.

The nine teams will return to the racecourse for a further three fleet races before the three-boat winner-takes-all Final, taking place tomorrow from 12:00 am AEST.

Tom Slingsby said: “We are going to have three fleet races tomorrow, with our new super Sunday format. If we get two good fleet races away we will be able to play the game. I would say It’s almost like a restart for all teams tomorrow however, as there are still a lot of points up for grabs.”

Australian fans can tune in live on Fox Sports and on Kayo in Australia to watch the final of the Spain Sail Grand Prix. Kayo are offering fans free access to both the live and replay racing, via its Kayo Freebies offer.

Spain Sail Grand Prix Standings after Race Day 1:

Australia SailGP Team- 24 points
France SailGP Team- 24 points
Great Britain SailGP Team- 22 points
United States SailGP Team- 21 points
New Zealand SailGP Team- 21 points
Spain SailGP Team-19 points
Canada SailGP Team- 12 points
Switzerland SailGP Team- 10 points
Denmark SailGP Team- 9 points

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