A collision on the water has marred the opening day of racing in Denmark for the New Zealand SailGP team, with a post-race penalty seeing them drop from third to fifth on the leaderboard.
In the last of the three races on day one of the Danish leg, the New Zealand team collided with the French – with the French team being in the wrong. While the Kiwis felt they had done all they could to avoid the collision, the race umpires reviewed the incident differently and ultimately decided they could have done more.
The New Zealanders were docked two points, with the French team losing four.
"They fouled us, but there's some pretty strict rules on collisions in SailGP and unfortunately the umpire deemed us to have not done enough to try and avoid the incident," New Zealand wing-trimmer Blair Tuke told Newstalk ZB's D'Arcy Waldegrave.
"These boats are pretty fast and racing is tight, so it's just to try and deter or lower the chance of damage between the boats. It got a bit stronger after the Japanese and USA crash in Bermuda in round one; it got quite a lot stricter after that.
"It was a tough one. We were in the right on the racing rules and obviously tried to avoid it as well as we could, but the umpires ruled differently.
"That was a pretty frustrating way to end the day, but on the water, we felt like we sailed pretty well."
The leg in Denmark is the fourth of the season, but just the second time the New Zealand outfit have had their first-choice team together. The postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021 meant that Tuke, Peter Burling, Andy Maloney, Josh Junior and Erica Dawson all missed events. While Dawson has not yet rejoined the team, the other four were back on the tools in Denmark and able to turn all their attention to the SailGP campaign now.
"It's been a tricky start to the season for us, having quite a few rotations, but the last few days have felt like we're starting to find our groove and get into it and really mix it up with the top teams. So, all in all, pretty happy after day one today."
On a day of racing where just seven of the eight boats in the fleet were able to make the starting line, the Kiwis were competitive throughout.
Spain had to withdraw from the first three races of the Denmark stop after their boat sustained some damage during a capsize before racing began. It was one of a number of incidents on the water as the teams trained in high winds.
Jimmy Spithill's USA team was forced to find a late replacement for wing trimmer Paul Campbell-Jones, who suffered a broken leg during one of the training days before the regatta officially began. Kiwi Jason Saunders stepped in on short notice.
The New Zealand team finished on the podium in two of the three races – crossing the line second in the opening race of the day and third in the third, with a sixth-place finish in the second.
However, losing two valuable points to the race umpires means the team has some work to do in the final two races of the regatta as they trail the table-topping Australians by four points.
"It's tight racing," Tuke said. "We're racing against the best sailors in the world in equal boats, so if you make a mistake, you get punished for it."