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SailGP: Kiwis drop big rig after finish of Race 3 - major damage

by Richard Gladwell 10 Sep 01:30 NZST
New Zealand SailGP Team view the damage to their F50 catamaran after Race 3 on Race Day 1 of the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, France © Felix Diemer/SailGP

The New Zealand Sail GP team dropped their big 29metre rig just after the finish of Race 3 on the opening day of France SailGP in Saint-Tropez.

The rig suffered severe damage breaking about a a third of a length of its full height (29mtr). The bottom section - which is the common component for all rigs was badly damaged.

The cause was not known, but could have been a rigging failure. However reviewing the video in slow motion and high definition, there is no obvious sign of a stay letting go, although there is an audible "bang". The spar seems to crumbled through a structural failure - which is unlikely given the conditions and that the boat was foiling just before the incident. Circumstantially it points to a assembly error by shore crew or the team. But that scenario does not account for the fact that the New Zealand boat sailed three hard races, without failure, and yet the mast failed at a time the crew were backed off and were approaching a supporter boat associated with the team.

The team had finished 5th in the race and were close to the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day. Leader board points were very close amongst the top teams with just 2pts separating the top six boats.

It is unlikely that the rig would be able to be repaired in time to race tomorrow (Sunday) - however that comment is dependent on the parts that the SailGP Technologies have available, or if they have a spare wingsail, or bottom section.

Winds were quite light for the race, and the F50s were not foiling on several occasions.

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