Australia SailGP Team wins at San Francisco

The Australia SailGP Team takes a heart-stopping win at Event 2: San Francisco SailGP.

The team started the day in second place behind rivals Japan SailGP Team, helmed by fellow Australian Nathan Outteridge. Damages to Australian's wing during the previous day may have kicked the team’s confidence down, but they were by no means out. Super tight racing between the event’s top leaders, with a treacherous crash landing into the finish in Race 4, saw Great Britain SailGP Team nearly throw Australia out of match race contention. Luckily Australia was able to dust off, win Race 5 and overtake Japan SailGP Team in the match race final, leaping back onto the top of the overall leaderboard for the second time in SailGP Season 1. 

Yesterday proved trying for Australia SailGP Team.  After sustaining some internal damages to their wing during Race 1, the team could not perform to the best of their capabilities.  

“When the wing breaks, we’ve got such a short amount of time in-between races you can’t really effect a proper repair… Shore guys worked overnight to pull the control system apart and check all the other components and fix what was broken in there. We’ve gone through the data to see what actually happened, but now we’re good to go,” remarks wing trimmer Kyle Langford. 


 
After a night's sleep, helmsman Tom Slingsby understood the position his team was in, yet he appeared level-headed, like the true competitor he is, stating, “We do reset. It's nice having the confidence; you get that feeling you just have to put together a decent race and you’ll win, whereas at the moment, it feels like we need to do a better race than normal to win which is not the position we want to be in. But today’s a new day and we’ve made some changes to the boat which we know are going to improve our speed and manoeuvering, so we’re going to be a lot better today.”

San Francisco really turned it on for both sailors and spectators alike offering a breezy 12-17 knot wind range for the athletes to contend with. Hitting the ground running, Race 4 saw four team’s, including Australia, biting the start early providing United States SailGP Team, helmed by Rome Kirby, a nice lead going into the first mark. The fleet of F50’s could not have been closer together, crisscrossing one another on multiple race legs. Australia sat just behind Great Britain until Japan sneakily came inside around the final mark. Australia absolutely pushed it out heading into the finish hoping to edge out Japan until a heart-stopping crash metres away from the finish line dropped the boat off the foils, drifting into the finish taking third. 
 
“We had a really nasty crash going into the finish on Race 1. We went for a codenamed ‘eagle,’, which means drop both boards and fly like the sacred eagle to try and finish before the Japanese. But unfortunately, the boards sucked down more than we anticipated and we pretty much almost went into a pitchpole at about 40 knots to about 7. The boys on the front handles got a little banged up, but to their credit, they pulled through and toughened up for the next few races of the day. Happy that nothing broke and we were able to get a good rebound from that, “ says a relieved flight controller Jason Waterhouse. 
Both grinders Ky Hurst and Sam Newton suffered minor injuries going into the finish after the crash. Ky Hurst’s face and ribs met the unforgiving F50, but even after seeing a bit of blood, the four-time Ironman champion pushed through pain. 
 
Race 5 was a battle of the Commonwealth as tie points for Australia and Great Britain meant the Australians needed to beat the British if they wanted in on the final match race round. “In the second race of the day, our whole concentration was on the British so we sort of sacrificed our start to get them. In the end, both boats sort of sailed through the fleet, but keeping in mind our main goal was just to beat the British, and I’d say we sort of achieved that, haha,” laughed Slingsby. Both teams chose opposite sides of the course for a nailbiting race, but it was the Australians that gained ahead once the British took a penalty against the U.S. team coming around the last bottom mark. After the crucial Race 5 win, Slingsby is ecstatic but notes, “It’s going to be a tough final [against Japan]. It’s a real boat handling situation. Just gotta make sure we sail well,” when looking ahead. 

The Japan SailGP Team didn’t start the day as the deeply talented squad intended due to internal wing issues delaying racing. This appeared to be just the start of a batch of tough luck for Australia’s top rival. Subsequent races saw more technical issues, yet the team was not ready to give up the fight going into the match race final. “From the start of that race, the first reach, then the first run, we kept looking for a metre or half a metre to get around them. In the end at the bottom mark, we were able to sail away. He tried to pull us at the end, but we had a little up our sleeves,” jokes Slingsby. It was Australia’s clean sailing and extension from Japan after mark 3 that clearly set the tone — Australia was not giving away San Francisco SailGP! Australia SailGP Team is now two points ahead in overall standings, and one step closer to the coveted SailGP's $1 million dollar purse prize. 

Slingsby and Outteridge have gone tit-for-tat over the course of their near-30-year friendship, and San Francisco played out no differently. Both competitors openly shared insight keeping both teams on their toes. “I hate losing to him, he hates losing to me, but we push each other as well. We openly talk, we openly tell each other what we’re doing and how we can improve and hope both of our levels will advance,” said Slingsby.

Australia SailGP Team will be celebrating a victory tonight along with the rest of the members of SailGP on a successful second event. As Tom Slingsby pointed out, thousands of people making up the crowds of San Francisco couldn’t get enough of the hydrofoiling F50's, “At times during the last match race with Team Japan, we had issues on comms' because the roar of the crowd for us was so loud. It was pretty amazing."
 
Click here for full results

Friday Twilight prize winners

Congratulations to the prize winners at our Alto Jaguar Land Rover Friday twilights presentation night last Friday. To be eligible, boats had to have competed in 72% of the series races.

Alto JLR main prize: a weekend for two at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. Won by Kookaburra - pictured above is Neil Lowndes, crew, collecting on behalf of Richard Hammond.

Alto JLR Consolation prizes: Jaguar and Land Rover Drive Experience days. Won by Zig Zag II, Malcolm Shaw and Out of the Blue, John van Ogtrop, below left and right.

  

RSYS consolation prize: Degustation dinner for six in the Fort Denison Cellar. Won by Wine-Dark Sea, Peter Lowndes, below. 

‘Rain, Hail or Shine’ prizes for boats that competed in every race: Lively, Sophie Nelson; Viva la Vita, collected by Malcolm Shaw on behalf of Howard Elliott; Much Ado, Richard Brooks; Alouette, David Ross; Well Inclined, Brian McKean. Well done for your commitment and dedication!

Many thanks to George Ershova and Max MacDonald of Alto Jaguar Land Rover for their generous support this season – our Friday twilight fleet goes from strength to strength!

RSYS wins battle of the clubs at the debut NSL Oceania event

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron open team, pictured above, has taken out the debut National Sailing League Oceania event, earning the honour of ‘best club’ plus a wildcard entry to the Sailing Champions League Final in St Moritz in August.

At the completion of the full schedule of 45 races over three days, 14 teams were whittled down to four carrying the burgee of two strong Sydney clubs, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s open and youth team facing their foes across the harbour, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s open and youth team, in the final on Sunday April 28, 2019.

It was all over after one final series race in light easterlies, the RSYS team skippered by David Chapman carrying a win from the club’s qualifying series victory through to the first-to-two wins final. A start line incident saw them fall out of the umpires’ favour and they penalty turned, putting their Elliott 7 last around the bottom gate at the mid-way point. As good fortune would have it, a massive gain on the righthand side of the track moved them up to first, and the talented crew completed the task on the closing downwind leg in front of the spectator fleet and those watching from the adjacent RSYS lawn and clubhouse. Watch the final replay here.

“It hasn’t really sunk in; these guys did a great job,” said Chapman, referring to his RSYS teammates Matt Whitnall, Greg O’Shea and Charlotte Alexander, following their triumph. “First open and first youth is a fantastic result for the host club, on home waters in front of everyone. I couldn’t be prouder. I’ve been jealous of the Bundesliga in Germany for years. We’ve been slow to get it going here – huge congrats to Mark [Turnbull] and Howard [Elliott] for finally making it happen.”

Second overall was the CYCA Open team skippered by Reg Lord with crew Ben Lamb, Murray Jones and Tara Blanc-Ramos on the bow.

The RSYS crew of skipper Jack Littlechild, Evie Haseldine, Max Paul, Alex Rozenauers and Maddie O’Shea, pictured above, finished third overall and first youth team, giving them automatic entry to the SCL Youth Final at Kiel Woche this coming June.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s team led by Zane Gifford finished one point off the top four but receives a wildcard entry to the St Moritz final, being the first Kiwi crew.

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club with Shelley White at the helm dominated the women’s category over three days of racing on Sydney Harbour in light to moderate SW-SE breezes, giving the Perth crew a wildcard spot at the Copenhagen women’s event later this year. With the separate women’s category plus entry requirement for all open teams to have at least one female aboard there were more women competing at the Oceania league’s inaugural event, a noticeable and welcome outcome for organisers.

Full NSL Final results at https://nationalsailingleague.com.au/results/

PRO Ian Humphries race-managed an ambitious program of 46 12-15 minute races in a range of wind strengths and directions, plus a team of umpires and other officials at the start-up league event. The plan from here on is a travelling circuit of qualifying events culminating in a final, either using clubs’ existing one design fleets, or a brand-new fleet of RS21 keelboats purchased for the league.

NSL director Mark Turnbull and co-director Howard Elliott, pictured above with all the crews, are excited about the expansion to come. “Nine months ago Howard and I decided to bring to Oceania what is a very successful concept in Europe,” Turnbull said. “To all the clubs which participated in the first event, it wouldn’t have happened without you, and to all the clubs watching on we look forward to seeing you next time around.”

Highlights from day 3 thanks to Tilly Lock Media

Rooster Sailing Australia is the Australian league’s official technical clothing supplier.

Follow the action of the NSL Final on Facebook and Instagram.

How to follow the NSL:

Facebook

Website www.nationalsailingleague.com.au

Instagram: @nsloceania

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlWopVkrphY

Photos by Darcie Collington Photography

NSL day 2: RSYS in 1st and 4th

The RSYS Open and Youth teams continue to shine taking the overall lead and 4th positions respectively after the second day of racing of the National Sailing League Final on Sydney Harbour,

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was the big mover today, with their open and junior teams leapfrogging into the top three standings after 18 races back-to-back.

At the end of racing on day one the CYCA youth team was sixth from 14 teams on the scoresheet and the open team seventh. It’s a different ending on day two, Saturday April 27, the open team skippered by Reginal Lord was second by three points and the youth team, pictured below, skippered by Tom Grimes third overall, four points off their clubmates.

The top women’s team is still Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club from Western Australia.

View full results here 

Highlights from day two thanks to Tilly Lock

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s open team led by David Chapman is the one the CYCA and others are chasing down, seven wins from 11 races putting the host club in a favoured position to take up an invite for the Sailing Champions League Final in St Moritz, Switzerland, this August.

  

Back ashore for the daily post-race BBQ and catch-up, youth skipper Grimes said, “We found our mojo at the end of yesterday. Today was about juggling the aggression level given this format falls somewhere between fleet racing, which tends to be more friendly, and match racing where everyone’s yelling at each other constantly. Today we figured out how aggressive we need to be, particularly with some of the older guys, they are hitting it pretty hard.”

America’s Cup sailor and past Etchells world champion Ben Lamb, who is on jib and tactics for the CYCA open team, said, “I think the format is awesome, the whole five-on-five boat races of around 12 minutes each.”

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s open team will automatically be granted the Sailing Champions League Final wildcard for 2019. They are sitting in fifth overall and bowperson Erica Dawson had this to say: “The NSL is a really cool format, super tight and quick racing, especially today when the boats were much closer. I think it’s a cool way to capture a large variety of people - different ages, ability and gender, it’s not too expensive and you don’t have to own a boat. Sometimes it feels like you go Olympics or you don’t sail, this format offers something in between and I’m looking forward to talking to our club about it when we get home,” added the Nacra 17 Tokyo 2020 hopeful.

At the end of Sunday’s six-race qualifying series the top four teams go through to the Finals and the first team to win two races takes out the Australian and New Zealand debut league event. But there’s a twist. The winner of the qualifying round takes a first place into Final, their recognition for previous dominance, so they only need to win one more whereas the other three teams need two wins. 

The earliest warning signal for the final day of racing off the RSYS at Kirribilli is 9am on Sunday April 28 with the Final expected to get underway between 1pm-2pm. Joining the media team for the closing day is Adventures of a Sailor Girl – Nic Douglass who will be live streaming racing via her own page and the event pagehttps://www.facebook.com/NSLOceania/

Rooster Sailing Australia is the Australian league’s official technical clothing supplier.

Follow the action of the NSL Final on Facebook and Instagram.

How to follow the NSL:

Facebook

Website www.nationalsailingleague.com.au

Instagram: @nsloceania

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlWopVkrphY

Further information: 
Mark Turnbull
National Sailing League
m. 0414 470 066 e. mark@nationalsailingleague.com.au 

Lisa Ratcliff – OCC
National Sailing League media
m. 0418 428 511 e. lisa@occ.net.au

Photos by Darcie Collington Photography

National Sailing League makes its Australian debut

Day one of Australia’s first-ever league style sailing event on Sydney Harbour brought 14 teams from clubs spanning Perth to Auckland, New Zealand, together for a brilliant hit-out of 15 races in a mix of autumn conditions.

Highlights from day 1 thanks to Tilly Lock Media

Leading the National Sailing League Final pointscore after five flights is the home team, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron skippered by David Chapman, and second by two points is the team from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth skippered by Shelley White. A second RSYS team, skippered by Jack Littlechild, is third overall and first youth team on the ladder.

Full results at nationalsailingleague.com.au

“It was nice to have racing so close to the Squadron; it was ideal stadium sailing,” said Chapman after racing. “The PRO did a great job getting all those races in in very tricky conditions. It’s a mixed fleet – some really good teams and those who are learning. It was very tough and really good fun - probably the most fun day I’ve had sailing this summer.”

Given how many events the renowned tactician contested globally this past season it is high-praise for the start-up where teams fly in to tackle an ambitious schedule of short umpired races using one design race-ready boats with the aim to be the last club standing by Sunday afternoon, April 28, 2019.

Principal Race Officer Ian Humphries and NSL directors Mark Turnbull and Howard Elliott welcomed competitors with breakfast and a briefing at the RSYS before the first round got underway off Kirribilli in light WNW winds. A funky transition period at lunchtime preceded a warm and solid Sydney westerly gusting to 20 knots at times, which wrapped up the afternoon flights.

Encouraging competitor feedback, a scenic Sydney Harbour backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison and the drama of near misses and boats separated by seconds on the start and finish line are boxes organisers can happily tick off after the opening day. The NSL’s realisation of a concerted effort to encourage women to participate is a more significant achievement. Five of the 14 competing teams at the inaugural league event are skippered by women and four teams are all-female, plus every open team has at least one female aboard, a requirement of the Notice of Race.

“With the requirement for each open crew to include a female and a separate women’s category there’s a really healthy gender balance at this first league event, one of our key drivers,” said Turnbull, an Olympic sailing gold medallist from Sydney 2000.

The earliest warning signal for racing on Saturday morning, April 27, is 9am and the forecast is for SSW – S – SSE winds 15 knots in the morning then lightening off as the day progresses.

Boat owners are encouraged to take private vessels out to spectate fast-paced umpired fleet racing at its best using Elliott 7s with teams rotating boats on the water and short races, just 12-15 minutes per race.

Rooster Sailing Australia is the Australian league’s official technical clothing supplier.

Follow the action of the NSL Final on Facebook and Instagram.

How to follow the NSL:

Facebook

Website www.nationalsailingleague.com.au

Instagram: @nsloceania

Further information: 
Mark Turnbull
National Sailing League
m. 0414 470 066 e. mark@nationalsailingleague.com.au 
Lisa Ratcliff – OCC
National Sailing League media
m. 0418 428 511 e. lisa@occ.net.au

Photos by Darcie Collington Photography