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Penalty league: Top offenders and cleanest teams from Season 2 revealed

15 JUNE 2022Feature
by Miranda Blazeby, Digital Editor

The teams that picked up the most and least amount of penalties throughout Season 2 have been revealed ahead of the T-Mobile U.S Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier.

Great Britain was the top offender, picking up a total of 26 penalties across the eight-event season after the team were found at fault for several collisions that resulted in serious damage to competing F50s.

The team was docked two season points in both the France and Australia Sail Grand Prix events. In France, Ben Ainslie’s team was docked four race points and two season points after collision with Spain. The team was docked the same again during the Australia Sail Grand Prix, after running over the Japanese boat in the final race of the opening day.

“What we learned from last season was that Great Britain was sailing a high risk strategy and therefore getting involved in a lot of contact and damage, resulting in a great loss of points,” said chief umpire Craig Mitchell.

He added that the team have ‘seen that as something to work on’ and kicked off Season 3 in Bermuda with 'a conscious effort to reduce their risk’.

Japan and New Zealand were tied in second place behind Great Britain, picking up 24 penalties apiece throughout Season 2.

Key errors saw New Zealand handed four race penalty points and docked one season point for a collision with France in the United States Sail Grand Prix. Japan also picked up four race penalty points and was docked one season point for a collision with France in the Denmark Sail Grand Prix.

Season 2 winners Australia were handed the lowest number of penalties, picking up just 10 across the whole season. Conversely, they logged a total of 61 penalty protests against competing teams - the largest number by far.

“Australia pushed the protest button a lot,” said Mitchell, “but they’re quite good at avoiding penalty points - they often sail to the rules.”

Denmark meanwhile picked up just 14 penalties, 12 of which were for breaching the boundary lines of the racecourse.

“Often boundary penalties are just down to misjudgements and early in the season, Denmark were struggling to stay within the course lines so they had a big number of boundary points,” Mitchell said.

In response to the number of collisions and serious damage caused throughout Season 2, SailGP introduced a tough new penalty points system for Season 3 designed to crack down on collisions and crashes on the racecourse.

The result, Mitchell said, was cleaner racing in Bermuda where there was no contact between the boats at all. “Everyone understands that having contact is not a good thing," he said.

Season 2 Penalty League in full

Team Total Penalty Points Total Protests
Great Britain 26 28
New Zealand 24 23
Japan 24 27
Spain 23 31
USA 19 36
France 19 20
Denmark 14 23
Australia 10 61

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