Tom Slingsby’s Australia has reasserted its league-defining dominance by winning Season 3 in spectacular style and securing the SailGP three-peat on San Francisco Bay.
The Aussies claimed the one-million dollar prize in a nail-biting sprint to the finish after going head to head with Peter Burling’s New Zealand and Emirates GBR in the three-boat, winner-takes-all Grand Final.
After finishing top of the San Francisco event leaderboard with three fleet race victories, the Aussies entered the three-boat showdown on a wave of momentum and confidence. They claimed the advantage early on, pushing out the Brits in the pre-start and taking the inside track to lead at Mark One.
Aggressive tactics throughout saw the Aussies only extend their lead and dominate for the majority of the race. But the most dramatic moment of the Final saw the Aussies fall off the foils on the penultimate leg, allowing the Kiwis to close the gap in the final stages of the race.
Despite coming close to overtaking the Aussies and stealing the win, the Kiwis ran out of water in the dramatic sprint to the finish line and it was Australia once again who proved why they are the team to beat by soaring across the finish line.
Reflecting on the race, Australia driver Tom Slingsby admitted: “I thought we lost it.”
“That was not in the plan - I was very scared. I thought it could be the biggest choke of all time, but fortunately we were able to get it over the line.”
He attributed the team’s historic victory to the rest of his crew. "The fact that we got the job done today is a huge testament to these people. I’m so thankful to have such an amazing team. Our run is going to come to an end eventually but we just want to extend it for as long as we can.”
The final fleet races of the event were packed with drama, with Jimmy Spithill’s United States colliding with Denmark on the start line of the fourth fleet race. Despite this, it was a solid day for Nicolai Sehested’s team, which picked up a third and fourth position to finish the event in forth overall.
France battled back from a terrible first day to pick up a race win in the fourth fleet race, but it was too little, too late for Quentin Delapierre’s team, which was denied a shot at the Grand Final by Emirates GBR.
The F50 fleet will next meet for the opening sail grand prix of Season 4 in Chicago on June 16-17.