Australia SailGP Team beats the odds, overcoming a broken wing and fierce conditions to triumph at Cowes
Tom Slingsby has proven once again that the Australia SailGP Team can deliver against all odds after triumphing on UK waters at the inaugural Cowes SailGP and setting a new race record in the process.
The team stormed home to victory, blitzing the six other nations competing and delivering a hat trick with consecutive wins in all three fleet races on the solvent. During the first race the team broke the coveted 50 knot barrier, never accomplished before during a SailGP race, setting a record for the entire league.
“I’ve been sailing competitively for thirty years and have never cracked the 50 knot mark until three days ago, during our first training session. It was a pretty cool moment for the team and I to hit that 50 knot barrier again in the race, as we crossed the finishing line,” said Slingsby.
The victory was even sweeter for Slingsby and the team, given that three days out from the event they weren’t even sure they would be able to compete. During the very first training session, the Flying Roo suffered significant damage to its wing during a routine gybe. The shore crew were in a race against time and worked through the night to repair the damage.
“Going into this event with only two hours of training under our belts due to the damage we suffered to our wing was extremely tough, and I was concerned as other teams had several hours of training on us. Our shore crew worked day and night to ensure the roo would be at the starting line and I think as a team we really banded together,” said Slingsby.
With only a couple of hours of training on the boat, the Aussies sat at the starting line with the other five competitors facing the toughest conditions ever witnessed at a SailGP event, including gusting winds and fierce waves. The conditions were so challenging, the American team capsized within the first few minutes of the race.
“It doesn't get any more extreme than what we raced in today. However the extreme conditions suited us because we have a lot of experience individually and as a team. The guys really rallied for us and in particular Jason Waterhouse, who had a tough job out there as the flight controller. Sailing a foiling boat in big waves is no easy feat and Jason managed the balance of sailing fast but safe effortlessly,” said Slingsby.
Slinbsby’s win at Cowes, pushes the team one step closer to $1 million winner takes all final match race taking place at the Marseille SailGP event from the 20th to the 22nd of September.
“We have never raced for this kind of money before and we are going to do everything we can to prepare for this event to ensure that when we fly off the starting line at the first race we have the best shot possible at winning. At the end of the day we are sailing in the fastest boats in the world and we know that we need to be prepared as anything can happen,” said Slingsby.