Light winds in Taranto make for a frustrating day for Australia as it continues to search for its first win of Season 4

TARANTO, ITALY – Sunday 24 September, 2023 – A frustrating day saw Tom Slingsby’s Australia team miss out on the win on Championship Sunday of the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto despite securing its fourth final of Season 4 – with Emirates GBR taking home its second consecutive win.

After the windiest day of Season 4 yesterday in Taranto and a brilliant performance from Slingsby’s Australian side, today’s extremely light air conditions – at times averaging 2-5km/h – made for a challenging day for the Aussies on the second day of racing as the team struggled to find the wind to foil and gain pace.

Australia went into today’s races second on the leaderboard following an impressive performance yesterday and two first places finishes. The final two fleet races in Taranto saw the Flying Roos finish 5th and 6th – giving Australia enough points to make it into the three boat final to fight it out against Ben Ainslie’s Emirates GBR and Jimmy Spithill’s United States. 

The three top teams were unable to reach the third gate in the 16 minute race time limit – with winds dropping to just 7 km/h – resulting in the termination of the race. This meant the overall leader from all five fleet races – Emirates GBR – picked up the overall event win, while Australia and the United States finished in second and third respectively.

Tom Slingsby said: “It was great to make it to another final and go up against the British and USA but a frustrating day for us with very tough conditions making it difficult to foil and get any speed. We didn’t have a good day today but fortunately we had a great day yesterday which allowed us to make the final and take some crucial points overall.”

It was a good comeback for Jimmy Spithill’s United States team after a challenging weekend, with flight controller Hans Henkel sustaining an injury in yesterday’s racing. It picked up a third and first place finish in fleet racing to earn its place in the final.

Australia remains in pole position for the league overall on 35 points and sits six points clear of second place Emirates GBR, who also took the win in Saint-Tropez earlier in the month, and third place Spain.

Tom Slingsby and his crew now have their sights firmly set on maintaining their Season 4 lead in the next event of the season, the Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz on the 14-15 of October 2023. Following that, the team will then head to the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council on 13-14 of January 2024, before returning to home waters for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney on the 24-25 of February. 

The SailGP Fleet in action on Race Day 2 of the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto, Italy. 24th September 2023. Photo: Felix Diemer for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP


SailGP Season 4 Overall Standings:

  1. Australia SailGP Team – 35 points
  2. Great Britain Emirates SailGP Team – 29 points
  3. Spain SailGP Team – 29 points
  4. ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team – 27 points
  5. New Zealand SailGP Team – 23 points
  6. United States SailGP Team – 22 points
  7. France SailGP Team – 20 points
  8. Canada SailGP Team – 18 points
  9. Switzerland SailGP Team – 10 points
  10. Germany SailGP Team – 6 points