Astonishing. Cadiz delivered. Slingsby delivered. Very rarely do you see racing like it but when you do, it’s a treat for the senses. Like watching a heavyweight boxing match when you have skin in the game, watching SailGP when the wind’s blowing and the crews are on the ragged edge (sometimes beyond) is something to behold.

As a vision for what spectacle sailing should be, both on and off the water, SailGP has it all and this weekend it put everything, absolutely everything, on display. What a show…

©Thomas Lovelock for SailGP

There are stories literally all the way down the fleet – Ben stacked it dramatically when it mattered most, Jimmy’s chipping away to get the golden ticket to San Francisco, Delapierre showed much promise, Outteridge was astonishingly brilliant in glimpses, Pete Burling won his first ever SailGP race and the female athletes were utterly outstanding, advancing sailing stratospherically and thoroughly, wholeheartedly, irreversibly enriching the spectacle. Glass ceilings weren’t just smashed but shattered forevermore – it was a watershed moment. But the day, the week, the year, belongs to Tom Slingsby.

A more brilliant display of talent you won’t see elsewhere. Watch the video below and go directly to Race 5 and the last windward leg layline. Buried in third with literally no passing lanes and the considerable might of Outteridge out in front with Ainslie charging hard for the lead.

Slingsby rolls the dice magnificently and ducks out mid-beat from the battle to hang hard left before calling the sweetest layline of his career whilst the other two shadow boxed out right before coming in on a header and realising the Aussie threat. It was too late to counter, Slingsby had nailed it. A sharp bear away on the inside and with monster acceleration as the foils gripped and ripped, almost a slipstream tailwind in motor-racing parlance, Slingsby was home and hosed. By the finish line it was the crime of the century. Astounding sailing.

©Thomas Lovelock for SailGP

And then the three-boat final. If you can’t appreciate what’s on display then try another sport. After a game of hook-the-mug in the pre-start and an early penalty applied to Spithill by the Aussies, it was actually a masterclass in ignoring the fairground by Ben Ainslie that saw him dial away to windward of the other two galacticos on the ‘B’ of the bang at rapier speed whilst Slingsby came up hot and hard from coffin corner.

But a few seconds later, Ben was in full submarine mode, diving down into Davy’s Locker and pitch-poling dramatically whilst the Aussies reacted sharply to avoid a nightmare collision in an amazing display of seamanship. Thankfully no-one was injured on the British boat and the chase boats were in fast but with the Americans facing an issue of their own, it was left to the Aussies to perform out of their skins and deliver as the breeze built.

©Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

A cakewalk, a swansong, call it what you like. I saw something today that is rare and mightily beautiful. A sailor at the very peak with a team of outstanding, mesmerising ability putting it all on the line and delivering right at the moment when it mattered. They meted out a thumping that makes the sailing world stop and send shockwaves through the boardrooms of those in the next America’s Cup. This talent is very, very real and it was on full display in a very colourful shop-window. The Australians win in Cadiz and Slingsby lays even more claim to the title of being the best of this generation. By a distance.

©Photo: Bob Martin for SailGP

Stunning scenery. First class, professional sport at its very finest. I thought I’d seen it all in the early hours of this morning with possibly the greatest heavyweight boxing match of all time in Las Vegas. SailGP matched it.

If you missed it, take a moment, sit back and watch it end to end. This is our sport now and it’s absolutely marvellous.

Thank you SailGP – what a weekend of sport.

9 thoughts on “PhenomenalGP

  1. Jib which failed to release resulting in the GBR Capsize. Maybe the Boats were a little bit overpowered with the 24M Wings at times and in hindsight they should have used the 18M Baby Wings.
    Otherwise it was a great SAILING SPECTACLE!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally agree! It was! Hopefully they go to Kiel next year maybe during Kiel-Week, no?

        My hunch is that they will start Season 3 in Bermuda again.


  2. Aside from the Sailing I was very impressed with two things: First when the GBR Boat flipped all 6 Crew Members were still in their Cockpits and no one went swimming meaning despite their astonishing speeds these Boats are relativly safe now. Safety is much improved.

    Secondly you should watch the Comms between Ainslie & Mills. Simply marvellous. Ben completely trusts her calls and that’s very beneficial on a Day like today when the Helmsman has to concentrate on steering the Boat. It’s kind the old Days in the International America’s Cup Class Boats when you always had a Tactician/Strategist behind your back. These two definitly get my vote for the best Communications Team this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree with you Magnus and also with the comments. Exciting stuff, nothing less than the future of sailing, the next AC will be so much poorer if all these participants can’t find a place, re. remove nationality exclusion rules…

    One aspect which did not match the high standards on show from the sailing teams was for me the commentary team. Massive difference to the standard established by the AC commentary team in Auckland. My proposed dream commentary team for SailGP: Ken Read, Shirley Robertson, Glen Ashby AND YOU Magnus, would love to hear you on coms..

    Technically should not be an issue, with the commentary team logging on from wherever in the World they happen to be.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They should have the option to listen to either a “serious” commentary track done by professionals and a “casual” one done by ordinary fans. (And maybe, just for laughs, a track with the reactions of people who have never heard of SailGP before just trying to make sense of what they’re seeing like the fake AC Googlebox video.)


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