Tom Slingsby’s Australia executed perfect maneuvers around SailGP’s tightest racecourse yet to end the first day of racing in Los Angeles at the top of the leaderboard.
The Aussies came out firing, harnessing LA’s characteristic thermal sea breeze to deliver a typically masterful performance.
The green and gold F50 overtook Ben Ainslie’s Emirates GBR to nab the first race win of the day, backing it up with second and fourth place finishes in the second two races. This means the Aussies are in pole position with 26 points heading into day two of the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix.
But solid performances from both Ben Ainslie’s British team and Nicolai Sehested’s ROCKWOOL Denmark see both teams tied just two points behind Australia, meaning it’s all to play for on day two.
The first day of LA saw another improved showing from Sehested’s crew, which won the second race and finished the day with a 3-1-5 race record.
Ben Ainslie’s British crew meanwhile, which dominated practice racing on Friday, chalked up 2-6-1 results. The third fleet race was Emirates GBR’s most impressive performance for some time. As the rest of the fleet struggled amid light conditions, the British found crucial wind to pop up on the foils and dramatically pull away. The team’s lead grew to over 400m+ and saw the red F50 cross the line with an incredible 1.24 minute lead.
Photo finishes were abundant on day one, as congested mark roundings and crowded start boxes meant executing perfect maneuvers was crucial. A dramatic moment on the finish line of the first fleet race saw home favorites the United States pipped to the post by Diego Botin’s young Spanish team, which found their form to finish the day in fourth.
Elsewhere, it was a poor day for Chicago event winners New Zealand, which finished in the final race of the day in dead last. This means Peter Burning’s crew currently sits in seventh heading into day two, behind Jimmy Spithill’s U.S. in sixth and Canada in fifth.
The lackluster performance of Quentin Delapierre’s France continued, with the team finishing in eighth overall, ahead of Erik Heil’s Germany in ninth and Sebastien Schneiter’s Switzerland in 10th.