France hat trick

Quentin Delapierre’s France picked up three consecutive race wins after the first day of racing at KPMG Sail Grand Prix Australia on Sydney Harbour.

20 February 2023


The French rose to the challenge of 50 km/h wind conditions to dominate fleet racing, while Jimmy Spithill’s United States kept their San Francisco hopes alive by picking up three second place positions and finishing in second overall.

Home favorites Australia meanwhile was plagued by technical issues, but still managed a respectable racing record of 3-4-6 to finish third after three fleet races.

The dramatic first day was plagued by technical issues, near capsizes, messy manoeuvres and even an Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team crew member falling overboard during the first fleet race.

Emirates GBR grinder Matt Gotrel fell through the fairing of the foiling F50 catamaran as the team approached the finish line while traveling at speeds of 50 km/h.


Gotrel remained attached to the F50 via his safety line and was quickly pulled back on board by his teammates with no injuries reported. The team went on to finish the race in sixth place and picked up a record of 6-6-2 across the first day.

The first fleet race began with Australia announcing it would not be able to race due to technical issues before the gold and green F50 dramatically crossed the start line. Despite issues, the team held on throughout messy manoeuvres to finish the race in third overall

Meanwhile, Peter Burling’s New Zealand, currently second in the Championship standings, was forced to retire from the first race due to technical issues and finished the day in sixth overall, one point behind Denmark in fifth.

Elsewhere, Diego Botin’s second day behind the wheel of the Spanish F50 resulted in the team picking up an 8-5-9 racing record, with promising moments throughout.

After cancellation of Day 2 of racing, France has moved back into third place on the overall Championship leaderboard after dominating fleet racing on the first day of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix.

Saturday’s three fleet races were deemed enough to constitute an event despite the cancellation of the second day of racing due to a major weather incident.

The refreshed Championship standings see France move into the coveted third place position with 63 points, just one-point from New Zealand in second place.

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