Main photo: An aerial view of the damaged New Zealand SailGP Team F50 catamaran after racing on Race Day 1 of the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, France. Photo: Ricardo Pinto for SailGP.

SAINT TROPEZ- 09 SEPTEMBER, 2023 – The Australians managed to finish the first day of racing at the France Sail Grand Prix in the middle of the pack, but it was the Kiwis who shocked fans worldwide with a dramatic incident taking place post racing.

 The New Zealand SailGP Team’s Saint-Tropez’ hopes are hanging in the balance after a disastrous incident onboard the team’s F50 Amokura. Shortly after the end of racing, New Zealand’s 29-metre wing collapsed, breaking off into the water and instigating an immediate salvage operation to ensure all debris was removed from the water. No injuries were sustained onboard. 

Tom Slingbsy said: “We had just crossed the finish line when we heard what had happened and looked over and we couldn’t see a wing. It’s pretty crazy and they are very lucky. We are just glad they are all safe and ok.”

New Zealand wing trimmer Blair Tuke said: “Everyone’s pretty shaken after what was obviously a very scary incident. We’ve had the time to react, ascertain that we’re okay and now as the minutes and hours go on, I think we’re starting to realise both the extent of the damage and how lucky we were.”

The Australians wrapped the first day of racing  in equal fifth place with France on nineteen points, but all is still to play for with only two points separating the Australians from Denmark in first place.

Slingsby commented on the team’s performance saying: “It was one of those days for us and had everything out there today, with a first, fifth and an eighth place. We are flirting with doing well in St Tropez but I don’t feel like the curse is over for us yet. We have a chance at making the podium and if we male that I will feel like we have finally lifted the curse.”

Watch the incident here: