A gust of wind blows away Sydney’s SailGP. What damage!

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Last Saturday an unexpected gust of wind hit the SailGp base in Sydney, much damage and much fear but fortunately no serious injuries. Sunday’s races were cancelled. Teams are working to get the fleet back on track for the New Zealand leg next month.

Damage caused by an unexpected wind gust at SailGp Sydney
Damage caused by an unexpected wind gust at SailGp Sydney

Here is the video of the rigid wing flying off

The video shows the gust of wind hitting Team Canada’s base, sweeping away the shore team workers and knocking the sail of the F50, the one-design foiling catamaran used by SailGP teams, onto the tensile structures.

“It’s part of our routine to launch and wing the F50s every day,” said Brad Marsh, operations manager for SailGP’s technical team, during these operations we try to align the boats with the wind. Despite SailGP working closely with experienced local meteorologists and having its own dedicated team, there was a big jump in wind direction right in the middle of the hauling process on Saturday. Since operations began, the wind intensity suddenly quadrupled, giving teams no time to secure the boats.

An unexpected burst

The storm that rolled through Sydney Saturday night left more than 60,000 people without electricity. Winds of up to 93 km/h were reported at Sydney Airport while in the town of Moss Vale, about 142 km southwest of Sydney, wind gusts reached peaks of 106 km/h.

SailGp Canadian F50 rigid wing sail completely destroyed
Canadian F50 rigid wing sail completely destroyed

Team France wins stage as damage count is taken

Team Canada’s sail is destroyed but several teams sustained damage. The Sydney stage was won by Team France, which won all four races held on Saturday. “The good news is that it looks like we will be able to continue with the next event, which is Christchurch,” SailGP CEO Russell Coutts said Sunday evening, suggesting that there may be some compromises on the format.

Team France wins Sydney stage SailGp
Team France wins Sydney stage
The damage to the Canadian wing seen up close
The damage to the Canadian wing seen up close

James Barbaro

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