- SailGP commentators agree French team Black Flag was ‘entirely justified’
The fatal error at the Bermuda SailGrand Prix saw the France team approach the start line at speed and attempt to barge the British boat aside. As a consequence, Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain was forced to swerve to avoid a collision.
SailGP commentators Stevie Morrison, David ‘Freddie’ Carr and Todd Harris agreed the Black Flag was the correct repercussion for such a ‘reckless’ manoeuvre.
Harris, “With all the incidents we had last year, I think it was a smart call to send a message to the fleet that this won’t be tolerated.”
The addition of newcomers Canada and Switzerland which, combined with the temporary absence of Nathan Outteridge’s Japan, means there are now nine boats on the racecourse compared to Season 2’s eight.
Despite the intensified racing and ‘increased racing quality’ across the fleet, according to Harris, Australia remains the team to beat.
On Slingsby and Australia
The Aussie team, driven by Tom Slingsby, has now won six of the last nine races and, according to Morrison, ‘looked pretty unbeatable on the last day’.
The team finished first on the podium after discreetly consistent racing which left them with a 4-5-3-4-1 racing record.
This consistency is key, Harris said.
On the British
Carr highlighted the efforts of Ben Ainslie’s British team throughout the weekend, which saw the team finish second overall with a 1-8-1-5-4 racing record. “If you’re the Australians – that’s the boat you’re looking over your shoulder at right now.”
On the USA
Todd Harris: “I really thought Jimmy Spithill would do better. They’ve obviously made changes on the boat but you just sensed that they were a little bit out of sorts.”
On Spain and Switzerland
Freddie Carr: “I just felt like Spain didn’t feature all weekend and neither did Switzerland so those two teams have got to have a good look at themselves and think about how they tackle Chicago.”
Stevie Morrison: “With Phil Robertson, Spain were challenging for the top three. Now they’re near the back.”
On New Zealand
Todd Harris: “Blair Tuke and Peter Burning are world class, Olympic gold medallists – they should be doing better than they are. Maybe they’re just not feeling it, maybe they need to made changes on the crew – they’ve got the skills but they just don’t seem to execute it.”
Stevie Morrison: “On New Zealand, I just think – when is it going to happen? I would expect them to be ahead of France.”
On Season 3’s doubled penalty points
Freddie Carr: “I totally understand why the race management and umpires have done it. Some of the collisions we had last year really put the shore crew on the back foot and for safety reasons it’s important to try and keep the boats apart.”
On Chicago – The next SailGP event 18 and 19 June.
Todd Harris: “Pressure wise, it will be on Spithill and the Americans.”
Stevie Morrison: “I think it could be the best spectating venue in SailGP yet. It’s right on the shoreside, right in the middle of it. It could really spark the imagination of the crowds on the shore.”