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Australians top again at SailGP

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Tom Slingsby's Australian team regained the top spot in the overall SailGP series standings by winning all races in the fourth leg of the event.

This time the regatta was hosted by Britain's Cowes ( Isle of Wight) from 8 to 11 August.

It is part of Cowes Week, one of the oldest regattas in the world, held since 1826, which will be held in the same waters from 10 to 17 August. Up to 40 races take place in the waters of the Solent during the week, with up to 1,000 boats competing. Even excluding the SailGP, the event attracts around 100,000 spectators.

Due to the yellow weather danger level in the region, SailGP organizers had to cancel the races on August 10, so the fate of the British leg was decided only by three starts on August 11.

However, one day was enough to ensure that the event in Cowes was memorable for spectators for a long time.

After the British, then the Australian and Japanese F50s officially broke the 50 knot speed barrier in training sessions on 6-8 August, crews and fans alike eagerly waited to see whether the new world speed record would be broken also during the race.

Although the wind had dropped to 19-24 knots compared to August 10, that hope was not in vain.

At the finish of the first race, Tom Slingsby's crew accelerated to the coveted 50 knots.

The achievement looks especially impressive when you consider that during the return back to shore from the same training session in which the Australian catamaran was up to 51.24 knots, the boat broke its sail and with it some control levers.

The F50 was repaired almost to the last moment. In order to spend at least some more time on the water before the stage, Slingsby even rented a French team catamaran for his crew. The rivals agreed, but in exchange they took Slingsby's promise to participate in the French training.

«We got off to the start, having only spent an hour under sail. The other teams had been practicing a lot more. I was definitely worried. I could look like I was fine, but I definitely wasn't»," Slingsby said at the finish line.

While the Australian team's major woes were over before the start of the race, the other teams were less fortunate.

The American catamaran toppled 30 seconds after the first start.

Although Rome Kirby's team managed to rise to third place in the overall standings at the end of the stage, their result in Cowes was far from ideal: coming in 4th-5th and fifth place.

The Americans have «to thank» British crew Dylan Fletcher for improving their position in the series standings. During the first race, the hosts' catamaran buried its nose in the water, sending Chris Draper flying over Stuart Bithell. No people were injured, but the boat was too damaged to continue racing on the day.

But the British had won both training races on August 8 and were full of hopes for a good result of the competition in familiar waters. Now they are 3 points away from third place in the series overall standings.

The main rival of the Australians, the Japanese Nathan Outteridge 's crew, didnot do without failures at the stage in theUK. During that same unfortunate first race, their catamaran fell sharply to the water from foiling mode, resulting in a broken winch pedestal. Nevertheless, even with such a complicated malfunction, the Japanese team showed 2-3-3 arrivals and took second place in Kaus. True, their one-point advantage over the Australians turned into a four-point gap in the overall standings.

Third place in Cowes with a 3-2-4 result was taken by the team from China.

The SailGP series finals will be held inMarseille, Francefrom September 20 to 22. Spectators will be treated to three days of racing, culminating in a spectacular duel - a match race between the top two teams.

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