A ‘technical malfunction’ was behind Australia’s dramatic capsize on the second day of racing in Halifax, it has been revealed.

The Aussie F50 keeled over during the last upwind leg of the fifth fleet race, creating confusion amongst the team.

Speaking after racing, driver Tom Slingsby said he was ‘as shocked as anyone’ about the incident and immediately attributed it to a technical problem on board. “A button was stuck and the boat thought we were pressing a button but no-one was pressing a button,” he said.

An ‘initial assessment’ by SailGP’s Tech Team has since ‘confirmed the capsize was caused by a technical malfunction’, specifically of the grinder cockpit panel system.

Season 4 // Australian crew dangle from F50 during capsize in Halifax

“A further investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the malfunction,” a statement from the Australian team said.

The incident followed an earlier near capsize in the fourth fleet race. “We were equal in the lead with Canada and the wing didn’t invert in one of the tacks,” Slingsby said. The team managed to prevent the capsize in the nick of time and debriefed the incident as ‘human error’.

“Then we went into the fifth race and we had a really nice lead and (…) the wing just completely inverted the wrong way with no-one touching the button so something has happened to the boat,” he said.

He admitted it was a ‘frustrating end’ to the event, which saw the Aussies finish 7th overall with an 8-6-1-6-8 fleet race record, but said the team was ‘pretty lucky it happened’ when it did.

“If that had happened downwind or on the first reach it would have been a really crazy capsize,” he said.

Following Halifax, the refreshed season standings see Australia slip to third overall behind Spain and New Zealand with two events before San Francisco’s Championship-deciding Grand Final.