Australia’s SailGP captain Tom Slingsby was all smiles after winning the SailGP Championship for a second successive year (beating Japan and the United States in the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix Grand Final on a crazy, crash-filled day in San Francisco).
“We’ve never really seen this caliber of fleet anywhere in the world,” said Slingsby. “You always talk about, ‘Who is the best sailor around the world?’, but to be here with all even boats makes it huge for me that Australia came out on top.
A crazy day on the Bay led to two different collisions between France and New Zealand and Spain and the USA. Two races were abandoned and restarted. And the Grand Final had to be delayed due to a whale entering the racecourse.
But, once the race was restarted, the Aussies had the speed and talent that led them to victory and lifting of the Championship trophy in the San Francisco race village.
“We can call ourselves the best sailors in the world. That is more important than money. Glory lasts forever, and it really feels like that.”
But I bet Slingsby and company are pretty happy to claim the $1 million in prize money (in a professional sport that’s not really known offering for big prize purses) too!
In fact, Tom Slingsby has led the Aussies to their second championship in a row by beating a tough American team led by America’s Cup legend Jimmy Spithill in the final, winner-take-all race and the Japanese team led by Nathan Outteridge.
And despite losing in the final, it was incredible that the United States even managed to race at all, having suffered serious hull damage when the Spanish crashed into their boat during the opening race of the day.
But, despite rapid repair work ensuring they could race, and a huge number of fans cheering them on from the shore, Spithill’s team only managed a third-place finish in the final, continuing his record of never having actually won a SailGP event.
And the cool thing is Australia won’t have too much time celebrate their back-to-back successes. Season starts in just over a month, with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix taking place on May 14-15.
See you there!