ROCKWOOL Denmark and New Zealand are in pole position after topping the leaderboard on the first day of drama-filled racing in Saint-Tropez. But a dramatic incident at the end of racing leaves doubts over whether the Kiwis will compete on day two.
The Kiwis hit the water with a bang, blasting off the start line and securing a win in the first fleet race before backing it up with consistent 6th and 5th finishes. Nicolai Sehested’s crew meanwhile navigated tricky gusty conditions and found clear air to finish the day with a consistent 3-7-5 race record.
But the day ended dramatically when the New Zealand wing suddenly collapsed after racing. Thankfully all athletes were accounted for and no injuries were reported - but clear damage sustained to the team’s wing leaves questions over whether the team will compete tomorrow.
The wing collapse wasn’t the only incident of the day. As racing began, Canada and Spain were involved in a dramatic collision - resulting in Canada’s third penalty of the race. The team picked up a devastating 8 point event penalty and 4 point deduction to their season score - leaving them with just 1 point and in 10th position at the end of the day.
Despite ROCKWOOL Denmark’s solid results, Sehested said it had been a ‘frustrating’ day on the water due to ‘tricky and shifty’ conditions. “I think it was frustrating for most teams,” he added, “It doesn’t feel as good as the scoreboard looks.”
Elsewhere, it was an improved showing for both Jimmy Spithill’s United States and Ben Ainslie’s Emirates Great Britain, which finished in third and fourth respectively - with the U.S. picking up its first win of the season in the third race of the day. Emirates GBR meanwhile found clear air and clear lanes across the course to finish with a 2-8-3 race record.
Home favorites France meanwhile remain in the running heading into Race Day 2 level on points with Season 3 champions Australia, which picked up a win in the second race but otherwise struggled with 5th and 8th place finishes.
Racing resumes at 13:30 CEST on September 10. Broadcast and how to watch information can be found HERE.