September 20, 2019 – Tom Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team have proven their strength as a team once again after flying the roo to a successful first day of racing at Marseille.
After a disappointing practice race day yesterday for the team, with wing trimmer Kyle Langford unable to practice due to illness, Slingsby came back more determined than ever to perform at today’s first day of racing.
"Yesterday’s practice race day was tough for us. We were handicapped as Kyle Langford wasn’t able to be on board due to being unwell plus myself and Jason Waterhouse were also not feeling our best.
We were also going through a really tough weight cut that we had to meet and I’d say all of those factors combined created the perfect storm for us. However we didn’t let it rattle our confidence when we hit the water today as we know when we have everyone ready we can perform, said Slingsby.”
Slingsby lead the Australian team to secure a close second position in race 1 and 3 and a stunning win in race 2. "We had three good races today and we still felt that we sailed extremely well in the races that we didn’t win. At the end of the day our top priority was for us to keep these races clean to protect the F50 for the final match race, which we did, said Slingsby.”
The rivalry between the six national teams was strong, but at the top of the fleet the fight between Australia and Japan was clear to spectators watching from the Seawall, when Japan’s helmsman Nathan Outteridge unexpectedly came for Australia in the pre-race starts, attempting to hold them back from their position.
“Nathan’s goal today was to try and ruffle our feathers, but it didn’t both us. If he wants to play games in the pre-race starts then that’s fine, we know we are going to sail through the fleet and he’s not going to hold us back. Come the final match race we will be going for him and we’ll see how he reacts" said Slingsby.
Racing continues tomorrow with three fleet races taking place, followed by the $1 million winner-takes-all match race between the two leading teams on points on Sunday.