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SailGP: Australia win in Denmark as contentious penalty thwarts Great Britain’s final | Sailing News

Emma Thurston

Interviews, comment & analysis @Emma_T_Sport

Tom Slingsby and his Australian team backed up the victory they secured in Plymouth in July; Sir Ben Ainslie and the British team were left fuming after being handed a penalty midway through the final, which they said on the water was “a ridiculous call”

Last Updated: 21/08/21 4:43pm

Australia's SailGP team backed up their victory in Plymouth with another event win (Image credit - Ian Roman for SailGP)

Australia’s SailGP team backed up their victory in Plymouth with another event win (Image credit – Ian Roman for SailGP)

In Denmark, Tom Slingsby’s Australian SailGP team secured a second successive Sail Grand Prix victory while Great Britain’s outfit were left reeling after a penalty decision against them proved to be costly.

The Australians led from gun to tape in the three-boat winner-takes-all final and kept themselves out of trouble. Meanwhile, controversy reined behind them and voices were raised between the Japanese and British boats.

With Slingsby and the Australian F50 out in front, the British team had worked hard to play catch up after a slower start, and duly caught second-placed Japan over the course of the opening stages.

Sir Ben Ainslie and his crew – down to three in total due to the lighter airs – read the wind shifts well, and as a result of increased time of the foils, caught Nathan Outteridge’s Japanese team.

By the midpoint, the Brits were moving ahead of Outteridge and would next have Slingsby in their sights, before the umpires awarded a penalty against them for ‘not giving room at the mark’ moving from leg three to four.

The British and Japanese teams exchanged words during the final (Image credit - Jonathon Nackstrand for SailGP)

The British and Japanese teams exchanged words during the final (Image credit – Jonathon Nackstrand for SailGP)

In commentary Stevie Morrison, who competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the 49er category, labelled the penalty as a “big, big call”, before the on-board communications highlighted the British team’s significant displeasure about it.

In Ainslie’s words, it was “a ridiculous call” and the penalty meant that the British boat somehow had to get back behind the Japanese boat in order to clear their name.

The issue was that the Japanese F50 was now significantly behind the Brits and Ainslie’s frustration was then exasperated further as they were handed a second penalty for not clearing the first quickly enough.

With these penalties against them, Ainslie and his team couldn’t do anything other than alter their direction in order to allow the Japanese F50 to catch them up.

Sir Ben Ainslie made his feelings clear during and after the race (Image credit - Ricardo Pinto for SailGP)

Sir Ben Ainslie made his feelings clear during and after the race (Image credit – Ricardo Pinto for SailGP)

Once that had happened and the penalty had duly been cleared, there wasn’t enough course left for the British team move back in front and secure second place.

Meanwhile, as the frustration built behind them, the Australians were left to their own devices out and calmly crossed the line first to secure a second successive event victory

SailGP Championship – Season 2 Points

Team Helmsman Points
Australia Tom Slingsby 32
Great Britain Sir Ben Ainslie 30
Japan Nathan Outteridge 28
United States Jimmy Spithill 26
France Billy Besson 24
Spain Phil Roberston 23
New Zealand Peter Burling 23
Denmark Nicolai Sehested 22

“The last race was a bit of a shocker really,” Ainslie said, as soon as he returned to shore.

“We didn’t have a great start, the Aussies showed up well to be fair, but we managed to get past the Japanese and then the umpires just came up with one of the worst calls I think that I’ve ever seen.

“I normally don’t mind umpire calls to be fair but that was just shocking. It’s a shame that it ruined the race for us, and probably ruined the race for the spectators too.

“The umpires are there to do a job, it’s not easy for them. You’ve just got to go with the rub of the green, take it on the chin and come back fighting for the next one.”

Ainslie and all of the other teams will not have long to wait until they are back on the water. The next Sail Grand Prix takes place in Saint-Tropez, France on September 11 and 12 and every race day of Season 2 is live on Sky Sports.




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