• Emirates GBR finishes Day 1 of the France Sail Grand Prix with a result of 2-8-3 across the three fleet races
  • Dramatic end to the day as New Zealand’s wing collapsed after third race
  • Just two points difference between first and sixth positions on leaderboard

The Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team will head into Day 2 of the France Sail Grand Prix just one point shy of the top spot following a dramatic day of racing in Saint-Tropez.

Moments after the third and final fleet race of the day had ended, the wing of New Zealand’s F50 collapsed. No injuries were sustained and a full assessment of the damage is underway. The Kiwi Team had finished the day in second overall behind ROCKWOOL Denmark, but it is now uncertain if Peter Burling’s crew will be able to race on Sunday.

France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez | Season 4 | New Zealand | Broken Wing

Emirates GBR had a strong start to Race Day 1, finishing the first race in second place behind the Kiwis. In the second fleet race, Emirates GBR took a gamble which unfortunately did not pay off as they performed extra maneuvers to find more breeze on the course. It meant the crew ended up in
eighth position, but they came back fighting for the last race of the day, finishing in third place.

Emirates GBR ended the day in fourth position overall, with only one point between them and the top spot. Emirates GBR Driver and CEO Sir Ben Ainslie described the day as “a game of snakes and ladders”. “The breeze was changing around a lot and there were big gains and losses,” he said.
“I think all the teams had their good moments and their bade moments, and it was the same for us, but overall we were pretty happy with how we were sailing the boat today.

“We felt like we made a big step up from yesterday where we were struggling a bit with our communication and some of our positioning, so it was a better day, and despite it being really tricky and really difficult – it was more enjoyable.”

Season 4 // Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills on board the GBR F50

Speaking about the gamble Emirates GBR made in the second race, Ainslie said: “It was just about trying to stay in the breeze and we made an error where we did the extra maneuvers to try and stay in pressure but it just cost us too much distance. That was a race defining move for us but other than that we did OK.”

Ainslie said he was “very glad everyone’s safe and no one was injured” after New Zealand’s wing collapsed. “No-one wants to see that happen,” he said. “But I’m sure the League and the Technical Teams will do a great job reviewing that and figuring out why the wing failed and minimize the chances of that happening again.”

Emirates GBR will start Race Day 2 on Sunday in fourth place on the leaderboard. Two fleet races with all 10 boats will take place before the top three enter into the Event Final. UK viewers can watch all the action live on ITVX from 12:30 BST.