Described on the live broadcast as a ‘win sandwich kind of day’, the opening day of SailGP Season 3 in the Bermuda saw Ben Ainslie’s British Team finish in second place overall, with two race wins sliced either side of an eighth placed race filling from the days three races
It was an up and down day for the British team in light and shifty conditions on the Great Sound, featuring a flawless opening race in which the team led from start to finish, a disappointing second race in which they finished eighth, despite leading at the start, and a thrilling final race win with neck-and-neck racing against Quentin Delapierre’s French team.
Reflecting on the opening day’s action Ben Ainslie said: “We had a good day in the end, we sailed a clean race in the first and did well at the start of the next, but we made two crucial errors and ended up at the back of the feet. It was important we bounced back which we did that in the third and that was a big positive for the team.
Tomorrow, we just need to keep it solid and get into that top three podium final where anything can happen. We are enjoying being out here again in Bermuda the racing is amazing, the standard of competition doesn’t get any higher. It’s brilliant to be part of it.
Race 1 - GBR WIN
The Team got off to a flying start, leading the opening race of the day from start to finish.
After a well-timed start at the port gate, Ainslie's crew led the nine-boat fleet at the first mark, and opted to go straight into an early manoeuvre, gybing to the left-hand side of the course.
Despite conditions being on the lighter end of the scale, with the wind averaging at 27km/h, Flight Controller Luke Parkinson expertly controlled their F50 throughout manoeuvres, achieving a 100% flight time throughout the race.
The British team built a commanding lead throughout the race, crossing the finish line over 500M ahead of the second place Canada Team driven by Phil Robertson, an impressive result for the new team.
Race 2 - CAN WIN, GBR 8th
The second race of the day saw another well-timed start for the Team, once again leading at the first mark. After building a healthy lead, however, the British F50 fell off of its foils in a manoeuvre round the fourth leeward mark. This error gave Canadian Team the opportunity to apply pressure on the British boat, and ultimately jump into the lead. With the British now behind the leader's turbulent air, they dropped into fifth place.
After a tough upwind leg, Ainslie and his crew managed to get back into the race opting to go to the different side of the course on the sixth leg, finding a good shift and being able to climb up the ladder back into third place.
At the final gate, however, another mistake creeped in, after picking the wrong side of the course the British were given a penalty at the mark for not giving room to Jimmy Spithill's USA SailGP Team. That incident saw the American boat fall off its foils, and the British were subsequently had to drop behind the American boat. Ultimately, that costly manoeuvre meant the Great Britain team crossed the finish line in a disappointing eighth place. The race was won the Canada Team, marking their first ever SailGP race win.
Race 3 - GBR WIN
A tight start saw the British team in midfleet on the first reach. Penalties for the Canada and New Zealand saw the course open out for the British on the second leg and they took the opportunity with both hands as the team led through the fleet and into the lead at the third gate.
With the wind dropping conditions became shiftier and trickier and Quentin Delapierre’s France Team pulled off an audacious tack bearaway which paid off for them as they took the lead.
Neck and neck racing between Ainslie and Delapierre’s crews followed until the final downwind leg when the British F50 managed to find some quicker boat speed than the French, overtook them, and crossed the finish line for the second British race win of the day.
Day two of the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess continues tomorrow with all the action live from 18:00PM BST on Sky Sports and YouTube in the UK.