The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney kicks off on Saturday, with six fleet races and the winner-takes-all Final scheduled across two days of racing. From the Spain’s new driver to Australia’s home town advantage, we round up the top five things to look out for when racing gets underway at 16:00 AEDT.
A new driver for Spain
After announcing a series of strategic changes, former flight controller Diego Botin take over the driver role for the first time in Sydney. Botin is set to work closely with wing trimmer Florian Trittel, while Joel Rodriguez - previously a grinder - will take over the flight control position. Elsewhere, Australian James Wierzbowski will also join the team in Sydney. Will the crew shake-up provide improved results? Let’s wait and see…
Can Emirates Team GBR unseat Australia at home?
Tom Slingsby’s home town heroes have a track record of triumph on home waters, but they’re not the only ones. The 2020 Australia Sail Grand Prix, which was originally intended to kick off Season 2 but discounted due to Covid, was won by Ben Ainslie’s British team. Can Emirates Team GBR repeat their previous event-winning performance in the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour.
F50 fleet reshuffles
The Kiwis’ F50 is out of action for this event following a lightning strike in Singapore and is currently being repaired in New Zealand. In the meantime, the Canadian team has received a brand new F50 while their previous boat will be used by the Kiwis. Despite the F50s being one-design, athletes have previously spoken about how each boat feels slightly different. Will this benefit or hamper the performance of Canada and New Zealand?
The race for third
Australia has a comfortable nine-point lead at the top of the leaderboard while the Kiwis have a five-point cushion ahead of Emirates Team GBR. Currently in third, the British team has 54 points - just one point ahead France in fourth and a three points ahead of Denmark in fifth. With such a congested mid-fleet scoreboard, the race for third is one to watch in Sydney.
Will Australia convert its home town advantage into a win?
Aussie driver Tom Slingsby has previously spoken about the ‘confidence booster’ of racing in front of a home crowd and says he hopes Sydney can play host to Australia’s return to dominance. But with the fleet improving all the time, will Australia be able to pull away and secure a definite win on home turf?