AARHUS DENMARK- 21 August 2021- Tom Slingsby has led the Australia SailGP team to a stunning victory and secured their place in history, after beating rivals, Great Britain and Japan, during an intense final match race, to be crowned the first Champions of the Denmark Sail Grand Prix.
Slingsby went head to head with long standing season rivals Ben Ainslie from the British side and Nathan Outteridge from the Japan side on the Aarhus race course, proving the team’s superior tactical prowess and ability to overcome challenging light wind conditions.
Slingsby commented on the team’s performance saying, “It was an amazing team effort in really tough conditions. It was pretty stressful. We got a good start in the final race, and kept our composure whilst behind us there was a lot of argy bargy going on between the Brits and the Japanese, but we were able to stay focused and sail away.”
“It’s not often you get to beat Ben Ainslie on a race track. He is a legend and you really have to sail at the top of your game to beat him,” added Slingsby.
Due to lighter conditions, it was decided ahead of racing that each boat would feature just three crew onboard instead of the usual five, for the second time in the history of the league. Slingsby had Kyle Langford onboard as the Wing Trimmer, with Kinley Fowler managing both the Flight Controller and Grinder positions on the F50.
“There’s a new rule that SailGP can decide how many crew sail on the boats, based on the wind conditions. Three up for us has not been too easy to learn and we struggled in Taranto. We have been working on it and coming up with better systems. It was a tough day but I think we’ve shown that we can adapt.”
There was a penalty drama in the final, that forced the British team to drop behind Japan taking them from second to third place, with Ainslie and his team visibly aggrieved at the controversial decision.
Slingsby commented on the penalty saying, “I watched the footage and I think it was an incredibly soft penalty and something we should take out of the rules because it’s a loophole. But I will say that Nathan takes advantage of these loopholes and he always has, he’s very savvy and smart at that stuff. To be fair I think it’s something that both Ben and I would have taken advantage of, if we’d been in the same position.”
“I must say we were having a bit of a giggle at the on board comms coming from Ben and his team after that penalty call. He wasn’t happy about his penalty, but we’ve already had a laugh with him after the racing about it”, Slingsby added.
A first finish in the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix leaves Tom Slingsby and his Australian crew in first place in the overall SailGP Championship leaderboard, two points ahead of Ainslie’s Great Britain SailGP Team. SailGP will resume next month in the France Sail Grand Prix in St. Tropez from 11-12 September.