On the first day of official practise racing at the European debut of SailGP in Cowes, Isle of Wight, Great Britain SailGP Team were thrilled to welcome onboard Ollie Ollerton, best known for Channels 4’s SAS; Who Dares Wins.
Knowing that the team had only two days previously won the race to break the elusive 50 knot speed barrier and arriving fresh from a gruelling expedition up Mont Blanc, the ex-SAS military man stated: “I’m super excited to get out as 6th man with the Great Britain SailGP Team on this crazy fast boat – watch this space.”
Sure enough, shortly after Ollerton’s session with Dylan Fletcher and the team on the red, white and blue wingsailed F50 catamaran, the British boys stole the show on the first day of official practise racing at Cowes SailGP.
Following the inaugural Kings Cup regatta – a major sailor event hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in support of their charitable causes - and with a shoreline packed with fans, the Great Britain SailGP Team took the win on both races of the day, coming back twice from a slow start off the line.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with my performance at the start but the team did a great job to get us through to first place. Since New York we’ve got our heads down and have had some fantastic training in the Solent this week. But the main event is this weekend and hopefully we can repeat some of the performance and make some small gains on the start,” said Fletcher, the team’s helm.
With the Australians missing from the line-up today due to a broken wing following a windy practise sail yesterday, the British had their sights set on ‘King of the starts’ Nathan Outteridge and his Japanese team and it wasn’t long before they showed them they mean business.
The stats speak for themselves with an incredible fly time (up on the foils) of 98.84% in race one and 99.2% in race two, and an average top speed of 38.4 knots in just 14 knots of breeze.
“Racing in front of a home crowd makes all the difference. We’re just a stones throw from the shore, so to hear those cheers in the middle of racing just makes us want to push even harder,” said Fletcher.
Returning to the shore, guests sailor Ollie Ollerton said: “I’m hooked! How do I get on the team?!” Perhaps the British team have found their new teammate.