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Prangs imminent in SailGP debut: Slingsby

Avoiding high speed crashes will play a big part in winning the opening round of the inaugural SailGP series says the Australian team skipper Tom Slingsby.

Prangs imminent in SailGP debut: Slingsby

Avoiding high speed crashes will play a big part in winning the opening round of the inaugural SailGP series says the Australian team skipper Tom Slingsby.

TOM SLINGSBY poses during Perpetual LOYAL's Boxing Day Bon Voyage at Rose Bay Marina in Sydney, Australia.
TOM SLINGSBY poses during Perpetual LOYAL's Boxing Day Bon Voyage at Rose Bay Marina in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Carnage on Sydney Harbour is almost inevitable when a new global sailing series gets underway, according to decorated Australian skipper Tom Slingsby.

The six high-tech F50 catamarans took to harbour for the first time on Thursday, delivering glimpses of the speed and manoeuverability that Slingsby believes will capture global interest.


The 2012 Olympic Laser class champion and America's Cup winner is embracing the danger element of the racing on a tight harbour course near Shark Island on Friday and Saturday next week.

While the crews representing Australia, the USA, UK, France, China and Japan will be out to avoid high-speed crashes, Slingsby expects havoc, particularly as it is the opening round.

"We'll do everything we can to mitigate those risks but we're sailing extreme boats. These are high-tech, flying pieces of carbon fibre really," Slingsby told AAP.

"It's like F1 or something. We don't want to crash but it is going to be part of our sport.

"We'll have to use all our knowledge and wits to get them around the race track safely."

Slingsby expects boats could clock more than 50 knots if the conditions suit and says any mishap has the potential to be serious.

That uncertainty is what he says can draw the sort of large, regular audience he's craved.

Sailing's headline acts are the Olympic Games and America's Cup which are both four-yearly, leaving the sport becalmed in between times.

"We've tried to figure out why sailing doesn't really catch on. Now we have these amazing boats that people want to see," Slingsby said.

"This will be an annual circuit. It's nation versus nation, exciting boats and a great broadcasting package. We're getting close to the right answer."

Slingsby says picking his toughest rivals is difficult but he suspects Japan's team led by Australian Nathan Outteridge will be slick given their crew's expertise on the similar America's Cup catamarans.

On the Australian boat, crewmen Kyle Langford, Ky Hurst and Sam Newton have also raced for the Auld Mug. They are joined by Olympian Jason Waterhouse.

The five-round series finishes in Marseille, France, in September, where a $US1 million prize will be up for grabs.

AAP


AAP




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