Ben Ainslie and Britain reign supreme in 1st SailGP race

SYDNEY (AP) — Ben Ainslie's Britain team completed a near-perfect first round of the SailGP series on Sydney Harbour with a convincing win over defending champions Australia in the match-race final on Saturday.

The British boat, skippered by four-time Olympic gold medalist Ainslie, won the first four of the five fleet races, with Tom Slingsby's Australia taking the fifth. That win, which followed a second place in Saturday's opening fleet race, clinched a spot in the final for the Australian boat.

The Australians had a pre-start penalty before the final and Britain charged away to register a convincing win.

Slingsby and his crew started the day level on points with Japan, skippered by Australian Nathan Outteridge, who notched two thirds on Saturday.

"Tommy and the Aussies are the home-town favorites, it was great to be up against them in the match race and to come out on top is a brilliant start for us," Ainslie said. "I've got to give all credit to the team, it's a team sport.

"I don't think I've ever stepped on to a boat like this where I've just been able to put it where I want to put it on the race course and the guys will take care of the rest."

Japan finished third overall, followed by Spain, the United States, Denmark and France.

The next round of the 2020 SailGP will be held in San Francisco in May, followed by stops in New York, Cowes, England and Copenhagen.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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