Tom Slingsby's first day on the water in Cowes brought highs and lows. After dominating the racing early in the season, the Australia SailGP Team continued to show their prowess ahead of Cowes by setting the speed record for the F50, surpassing the Great Britain SailGP Team’s record of 50.22 knots set earlier in the week, by traveling 51.24 knots.
The British may have broken the 50-knot barrier first, but the Australians proved they could go faster.
“Beating the British doesn’t bother us; it was our first day on the water, and that’s the obviously the fastest any of us have ever gone,” said Slingsby of his record-breaking day. “I hear Dylan has a bit of a rivalry with me, but I don’t worry about them at all.”
After an intense practice day, the team was delivering the boat back to the technical area in Southampton when disaster struck. The wing crossed the boat with too much twist during a low-speed gybe, tearing the flaps off the wing and breaking several control arms.
“It’s a significant bit of damage,” said wing trimmer Kyle Langford, “but fortunately the tech team and our shore team are working to fix it. Unfortunately, we don’t have spares for those parts that broke. They are repairing it properly so we will be in good shape for racing on day one.”
The Australians will not be on the water for Thursday’s practice racing but are hopeful to be back on the water in full force this weekend.
“The guys are working hard; there’s a lot of boat building to fix the wing, we have to repair three control arms. They are working tirelessly to get us ready for racing,” said Slingsby.
Despite missing the practice race day, the Australians don’t seem too fazed by the breakdown. After reaching hair-raising speeds on the Solent during practice, they are feeling confident in their performance.
Only one point is keeping the Australia SailGP Team from first place on the leaderboard, and the athletes are keen for a third win in Cowes, which is considered one of the top sailing venues in the world.