Team Australia struggle in SailGP France

Team Australia have had a rough day in the SailGP regatta on the French Riviera.
Camera IconTeam Australia have had a rough day in the SailGP regatta on the French Riviera. Credit: AAP

Tom Slingsby's Team Australia have had their hopes of a third-straight SailGP regatta win in the global league dashed when they sustained a series of technical setbacks aboard their foiling 50-foot catamaran on the French Riviera.

The defending champion Aussies, who came in with a two-point lead in the season standings, were last in the eight-boat fleet.

Jimmy Spithill's Team USA welcomed back wing trimmer Paul Campbell-James from a broken leg to win two of the three fleet races on Saturday, to position themselves well to reach Sunday's podium race.

The US team have 20 points, followed by New Zealand with 17, Spain and Japan 16, Great Britain 13, Denmark 12, France and Australia 7.

After two more fleet races on Sunday, the top three teams advance to the podium race.

Sir Ben Ainslie's British team won the opening race before the US won the next two races.

Crews were reduced from five to three due to light wind. Spithill sailed with Campbell-James and Andrew Campbell.

Campbell-James broke his right leg three weeks ago when he was thrown from the cockpit and landed on the wingsail in a training mishap the day before the regatta in Denmark began.

After surgery, he followed an aggressive rehabilitation program to return to action.

The American team has reached two podium races this season only to be beset by mishaps.

They hit a submerged object in the regatta in Italy in early June and had rudder problems in the regatta in Britain in July.

They were knocked out of the season-opening regatta in Bermuda when hit by Team Japan.

The Australians sustained several hydraulic and electronic issues, forcing them to sail blind with no working software.

"We were hit with a perfect storm of issues today and it was very frustrating," Slingsby, an Olympic gold medalist and former America's Cup champion who skippered the Aussies to the $1 million ($A1.4m) winner-take-all inaugural SailGP title in 2019, said.

"Right from the first fleet race we were being faced with several issues, from having no software, daggerboards not going down and our entire system completely shutting down.

"We'd scramble to fix one issue between the races, only to find another issue pop up when we were racing," he said.

The Aussies managed two sixth-place finishes.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails