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Aussies break Saint Tropez SailGP curse securing podium finish at the France Sail Grand Prix

by Olivia Hogan / Australia SailGP Team 10 Sep 2023 15:47 BST 9-10 September 2023
Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie, Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby and Spain SailGP Team helmed by Diego Botin sail past the bell tower and old town of Saint-Tropez on Race Day 2 of the France Sail Grand Prix © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

Tom Slingsby and his Australian crew have finally broken their 'Saint Tropez curse', securing second place at the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint Tropez.

Following the catastrophic structural failure of the New Zealand Team's wingsail in yesterday's racing, a decision was made that the New Zealand SailGP Team was unable to participate in the final day of racing.

With all left to play for, the Aussies showed their 'never die' attitude, dominating the final qualifying fleet race to secure a seat in the Podium Final against Emirates Great Britain and Spain. A win in itself for the Australians, considering their historically poor performance in Saint Tropez, having never made a SailGP podium.

The Podium Final came down to the wire, with an intersection in the final beat between the Aussies and the Britts proving to be the opportunity Ben Ainslie needed to overtake the Australians who were sitting in first position.

Tom Slingsby said: "It's nice to have a better result for us here in Saint Tropez and we can finally say that the curse is over, but of course I am disappointed as I felt we led most of that race and were sailing really well."

Everyone knows that when Australia is in front we are going to be all over you and in hindsight I do wonder whether this was not the right venue for that, and maybe we should have sailed our own race", Slingsby added.

On Ainslie's win, Slingsby commented, "That team is so deserving of a win and the fact that they haven't won an event in two and a half years is unbelievable, because they are such a strong team. They hung tight and when the opportunity came to take it from us, they took it so hats off to them."

The Australians second place in Saint Tropez sees the team maintain their position at the top of the Season 4 leaderboard on 26 points.

The European leg of SailGP will continue, with the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix I Taranto taking place on September 23-24.

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