Sailing: New Zealand continue red-hot SailGP form at Saint-Tropez with two wins
- on Sep 11, 2022
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have extended their run of SailGP form to the south coast of France, powering New Zealand to another regatta lead after the opening day at Saint-Tropez.
But trans-Tasman relations have taken a hit, with championship leaders Australia suffering damage to their boat, as they crashed near the finish of the opening race, trying to avoid an aggressive move from the Kiwis.
In wind conditions, the SailGP speed record fell twice over the three races sailed, with Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain clocking 99.02kph in the opening contest and Quentin Delapierre guiding the home team to 99.94kph in the third.
At the end of the day, New Zealand had secured two wins and Australia one, but Aussie skipper Tom Slingsby was fuming over his misadventure, which required urgent repairs, before he could take the startline for the second race.
“All of this damage over something so stupid,” he said. “We would have happily given the position and now we have all this damage, because Peter Burling wanted one extra point – it’s ridiculous.
“To me, Pete just coming up at us like that is just unsafe. We are just trying to finish the race here, I just don’t think what he did is worth it for one point, but no doubt he has a different opinion.
“He’s always had a pretty warped view, so would be interesting to hear him explain it.”
Australia were leading at the time, but their crash cost them four placings and threatens to keep them out of Sunday’s final, as they contest the third and final sport with the French and British.
“We were overlapped for a very long time and they were closing down to us, so we were fully within our rights to do what we were doing,” said Burling. “It was exactly the same situation with Canada and they got out of the way.
“I think, as drivers, we might need to pitch in for some anger management lessons for Tom. I think it’s out of line, the swear words he was saying afterwards on our race management channel.”
New Zealand lead the France Sail Grand Prix with 27 points, two clear of Jimmy Spithill’s USA team. Australia recovered to take out the second race, but slumped to seventh in the final contest.
The Kiwis will have race on without grinder Louis Sinclair, who suffered a facial injury, when Amokura nosedived.