Outteridge steers Japan to SailGP win after US breaks down

TARANTO, Italy (AP) — Nathan Outteridge steered Team Japan to victory in the podium race Sunday at the SailGP Taranto regatta after the United States’ boat broke down while in the lead.

It was a big comeback for Outteridge, an Olympic gold and silver medalist who collided with the U.S. boat on the first day of the season-opening regatta in Bermuda in late April, knocking both foiling, 50-foot catamarans out of action.

Spain finished second in the podium race and the United States, skippered by two-time America’s Cup champion Jimmy Spithill, was third.

New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, France and defending champion Australia rounded out the field.

New Zealand and Japan won Sunday’s two fleet races. Japan, the United States and Spain advanced to the podium race based on standings after the five fleet races.

Due to light wind, the crews were again reduced from five to three for the podium race.

“With three people onboard you don’t have much time to look at the competition, but when the United States wiped out it was a really easy decision to tack straight away and that effectively won us the race,” said Outteridge, an Australian.

“There wasn’t really a perfect race this weekend, but sometimes you have to get lucky and take it. And we’ll thank Jimmy Spithill for that one!”

The American boat broke a rudder while in the lead.

Outteridge and Team Japan finished second in the inaugural season of 2019 after losing the $1 million, winner-take-all final match race to Tom Slingsby and Team Australia.

Spain moved into first place in the season standings, followed by Britain and Japan. Britain, winner of the Bermuda regatta, had a disappointing sixth-placed finish in Taranto under helmsman Paul Goodison, who filled in for Sir Ben Ainslie.

The rest of the season standings are New Zealand, France, Australia, the United States and Denmark.

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