Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain SailGP Team claimed two race wins of the three races on day one of the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix.
But a penalty in the second race for Great Britain (10-3-10) against Canada only sees them in second place on the event leaderboard, as a consistent Canada team (9-10-6) claimed the overall lead on their first ever day of SailGP racing.
With a second in the day’s first race, followed by a race win, New Zealander Phil Robertson, driving for his third different team in as many seasons, made it a stunning debut for the new Canada SailGP franchise.
While defending champion Tom Slingsby, despite only one top three finish, took the Australia SailGP Team (7-6-8) into third place as the rest of the field struggled for consistency.
SailGP Bermuda Leaderboard – Day 1 Saturday after 3 races
1st Canada – Phil Robertson 9 10 6 – – 25 pts
2nd Great Britain – Ben Ainslie 10 3 10 – – 23 pts
3rd Australia – Tom Slingsby 7 6 8 – – 21 pts
4th France – Quentin Delapierre 2 9 9 – – 20 pts
5th United States – Jimmy Spithill 8 4 4 – – 16 pts
6th Denmark – Nicolai Sehested 6 2 7 – – 15 pts
7th New Zealand – Peter Burling 4 8 3 – – 15 pts
8th Spain – Jordi Xammar 5 7 2 – – 14 pts
9th Switzerland – Sébastien Schneiter 3 5 5 – – 13 pts
France sit just outside the top three and stand a great chance of making the event final after an excellent performance by Quentin Delapierre in the third race of the day to finish second.
Last year’s grand finalist, the U.S. SailGP Team has work to do to make the final three after a tough day on the water, sitting five points outside third place in fifth.
The New Zealand SailGP Team had a difficult day, finishing seventh, third and then a penalty for an early start in race three saw an eighth place finish, finishing the day in seventh overall.
The other new team in the fleet, Switzerland, managed two sixth place finishes on their debut on a tough day on the Great Sound for the league’s youngest driver Sébastien Schneiter.
Spain experienced a day to forget on the water, finishing day one in eighth place, although it did make history with Paula Barcelo making the first appearance of a female athlete in the grinder position in a full six-person crew configuration.
Day 2 will see two fleet races and then the Final, a race in which the three highest ranked teams in the event leaderboard face off to be crowned Bermuda event champions.
Live video here on Sailweb from 18:00 hrs UK . . .