Australia driver Tom Slingsby has revealed he does believe New Zealand should receive scoring compensation after the Kiwis were ruled out of competing in Taranto this weekend.
It comes after the complete collapse of New Zealand’s 29m wing after the first day of racing in Saint-Tropez. This meant that the Kiwis were ruled out of racing on the second day of the event with no points redress.
With SailGP’s only spare wing located in New Zealand, it wasn’t possible to transport and fit out the replacement in time for racing this weekend in Taranto. As a result, SailGP is currently reviewing its rules around redress in consultation with the teams.
Speaking at a pre-event press conference, Australia driver Tom Slingsby weighed up the debate.
“It’s a hard one to answer,” he said. “Competitive Tom is saying ‘no’ and ‘back luck, move on’, but realistic Tom is saying ‘I understand that they didn’t make any mistake there’.
SailGP’s decision to offer no redress to on water racing results is, he said, ‘a big improvement’, however he acquiesced that the Kiwi team ‘should be compensated’.
“At the moment, the result is decided on the water and that’s a big improvement (…) but at the same time, SailGP doesn’t have spares and [the team] can’t just head out the next day with a new wing,” he said.
When SailGP has built up a supply of spares however, the league should revert to the no redress rule.
“Sometimes it will be bad luck and sometimes it will be bad management, but I like the idea of the result being decided there and then on the water,” he said.
Elsewhere, Slingsby welcomed the return of strategist Nina Curtis to the racing line-up and admitted the team is ‘frustrated’ not to have win an event so far this season, despite being at the top of the leaderboard.
There have been three different winning teams at Season 4’s first three events; New Zealand in Chicago, Spain in LA and Emirates GBR in Saint-Tropez. Australia was in the three-boat Final at all three events.
“We’ve had three events where we’ve had a really good shot at it and we haven’t delivered,” he said. However, he said the ‘team morale and atmosphere’ is ‘at an all time high’ heading into Taranto.
The ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto takes place this weekend on September 23-24, with racing scheduled between 13:30-15:00 CEST.