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Sail GP

Bermuda is still in a state of lockdown, although we are allowed out of the house now, but that sadly did not extend to watching the first series of the 2020/21 SailGP held here this weekend.

Although families could go onto the Great Sound to watch in personal boats, the initial plans of a spectator village and stands were all cancelled, and with it millions of dollars into the islands desperately empty tourism coffers.

After the success of the 2017 Americas Cup held on the island, Bermuda has made itself a regular on the competitive sailing calendar, and SailGP is an attempt to create a commercially viable global race series to take place over a calendar year.

This season was pushed back from last year due to Covid, and Bermuda became the 1st round of the season that now extends to March 2022.

The six races over Saturday and Sunday were televised, Sky Sports and CBS were here and the television pictures once again I thought captured the stunning beauty of the island as eight nations battled it out on the water in a blur of technological marvel and admirable athleticism.

These craft, each one identical, are revolutionary foiling F50 catamarans and the best sailors in the world were here to race them at speeds close to 60mph. Going fast looked the easiest task, but swinging these 50 feet beasts up on one foil around tight marks and flying across the harbour trying to avoid each other was something utterly more complex.

Imagine Formula One on the water complete with pile-ups, near-misses, boats capsizing and sailors falling into the water and there you have it.

Five race heats with points for places, and then a final 6th race for the three top teams ended with five-time Olympian Ben Ainslie leading the British team to victory with fierce rival Tom Slingsby and his Australian team in 2nd.

Bermuda favourite Jimmy Spithill who was once again helmsman the USA boat finished last after crashing into the Japanese boat in race 4 and then capsizing.

Series two is in Italy in June.

Final Table:

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