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Spain Wins Bermuda Sail Grand Prix, New Zealand Finishes Second, Growing Season Lead

SUNDAY 5 MAY 2024 (ADT) BERMUDA | Los Gallos have claimed their second-ever SailGP event win in Bermuda, with the Black Foils hot on their heels in second. New Zealand has widened its overall season lead, now 10 points ahead of Australia, who finished third in the event.

In a nail-biting day of racing, New Zealand’s hopes of the podium final race seemed precarious after fleet race four, in which the Black Foils were penalised for an early start, going on to finish sixth after battling in the pack for much of the action.

But in the fifth and final fleet race of the day, New Zealand made consistent gains to pull ahead of an unbelievably-close fleet and take the win, earning critical points needed to secure a spot in the final alongside Australia and Spain - the three season leaders.

In the winner-takes-all final, New Zealand and Spain quickly pulled ahead of the Flying Roo - staying within seconds of one another for most of the race. Despite their best efforts to hunt down Los Gallos, it wasn’t to be - with the young Spanish crew executing a near-perfect race to claim victory on the Great Sound.

Celebrating on board driver Diego Botin said, “Coming up with the win is just amazing. We just need to keep sailing the same way, put the most points on our board that we can and avoid the penalty points - just keep focused on everything we’re doing.”

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Strategist Nicole van der Velden said the calibre of the team’s trans-Tasman rivals made the victory even sweeter: “To be able to fight with [Australia and New Zealand] - two of the top teams - and come out on top is an amazing feeling,” she said.

Congratulating los Gallos, Black Foils wing trimmer Blair Tuke said, “Full credit to Spain for beating both us and Australia in the final - it shows the skill of that team. They’ve been growing steadily for a year or so now. They’ve got a great group and deserve to be where they are.”

Tuke continued: “As we know in the finals, it’s often the boat that leads to mark one that wins. We gave them a good push and had an opportunity to sneak past on the first upwind, but they put together a perfect race from there.”

Reflecting on an event in which the Black Foils struggled to find form on day one, Tuke said, “It was extremely close racing out there today, and stoked to have just snuck into the final on the end of a pretty tough weekend getting off the startline for us.”

Tuke continued, “Definitely not our best work, but the team showed a huge amount of skill around the racetrack - boat speed, positioning, manoeuvres were all really good and that enabled us to fight back when we were in the pack.”

With only three events left on the calendar before the Season 4 Grand Final in San Francisco, Tuke said the pressure was on - “It’s great to have another point between us, Australia and the chasing pack. Now we just keep building and keep the hammer down towards that grand final.”

The most exciting racing on water is back in just three weeks time for the first-ever Rockwool Canada Sail Grand Prix | Halifax, 1-2 June 2024.

© Scoop Media

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