Phil Robertson’s Canada make history by securing their first ever SailGP win at the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch March 18-19 held at Lyttelton Harbour.
In one of the closest final battles of the season, the Canadians matched Peter Burling’s Kiwi side with tight tackles and lead changes. Season leader Australia finished in third place.
Practice time was limited for all nine teams when practice was canceled before the first day due to forecast high winds, and on both days there was no pre-race time due to dolphins on the course.
The final had a perfect start for all three boats, but Canada was first on Mark One with the all-important inside course.
Despite falling off the foil and even receiving a boundary penalty in the final downwind leg, the Canadians were consistently faster than the Kiwis to cross the line to claim 10 season points.
“We tried well to let the Kiwis back into the game but we managed to clear the penalty and get to the bottom quickly, such happy days!” Robertson said.
It comes after Canada edged into the final showdown by narrowly beating the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team in the closing moments of the fifth fleet race. New Zealand were the top scorers in the 5-run qualifying series.
It is the first win for the young team, who previously lost in the Bermuda and Chicago finals earlier in the season. He also followed the previous event in Sydney when his wing and the new F50 suffered significant damage in an extreme weather incident shortly after the opening day’s race.
Canada’s triumph now means a total of five teams have won the tournament in Season 3, with Canada joining Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States.
Despite two race wins on the second day of racing in Christchurch, Tom Slingsby’s Australia never posed a serious threat as the final unfolded.
However, the results of the event mean the Aussies remain top of the overall season standings with 84 points, while New Zealand, in second place with 73, have narrowed the gap slightly. France remain third on 69 points despite finishing fifth in Christchurch, but are a slim one point ahead of Emirates Team GBR who are fourth.
This means there will be a tight battle between France and Emirates Team GBR for the final spot in the three-boat championship final, the winner taking home $1 million in the championship final in San Francisco. The nine F50 teams meet again in the Season 3 Grand Finals on May 6-7, where the Season 3 champion will be decided.
SailGP Info – New Zealand Details – Season 3 Scoreboard – YouTube – How to Watch
Final results – New Zealand
1. Canada (Phil Robertson), 5-3-1-4-1
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 2-1-2-2-3-2
3. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 4-2-9-1-1-3
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 3-4-3-4-6
5. France (Quintin Delapierre), 1-6-5-3-7
6. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 8-5-4-9-2
7. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 6-7-6-8-5
8. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 7-8-8-6-8
9. Spain (Jordi Xammar/Diego Botin), 9-9-7-5-9
Note: Before the final three-boat race, NZL won the 5-race series, followed by AUS and CAN.
Season 3 standings (after 10 of 11 events)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 84 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 73 points
3. France (Quintin Delapierre), 69 points
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 68 points
5. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 60 points
6. Canada (Phil Robertson), 59 points
7. United States of America (Jimmy Spithill), 57 points
8. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 29 points
9. Spain (Jordi Xammar/Diego Botin), 29 points
• Spanish SailGP Team: Claimed two season championship points for a four-point penalty at Plymouth
• Swiss SailGP Team: Won two season championship points for a four-point penalty in Saint-Tropez
• United Stated SailGP Team: Won four points in the season championship for an eight-point penalty in Saint-Tropez
• New Zealand SailGP Team: Won two season championship points for four penalty points in Dubai; Scored two points in the season championship for a four-point penalty in Singapore
SailGP Season 3 Schedule 2022-23
14-15. May 2022 – The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix was presented by Hamilton Princess
18.-19. June 2022 – United States Grand Prix of Sailing | Chicago at Navy Pier
30.-31. July 2022 – Great Britain Sailing Grand Prix | Plymouth
19.-20. August 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
10.-11. September 2022 – French Sailing Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
24-25. September 2022 – Spanish Grand Prix in sailing | Andalusia – Cadiz
12-13. November 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix organized by P&O Marinas
14.-15. January 2023 – Singapore Grand Prix of Sailing
18.-19. February 2023 – Australian Grand Prix of Sailing | Sydney
18.-19. March 2023 – New Zealand Grand Prix | Christchurch
6.-7. May 2023 – United States Grand Prix of Sailing | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Finale)
Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event lasts two days.
• There are three qualifying races each day for all nine teams.*
• The top three teams from the qualifiers advance to the final race to be crowned the event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize pool to be split among the top three teams.
• The season concludes with the grand finale, which includes the final race of the championship – a winner-take-all race for a $1 million prize.
* The qualification schedule has been increased from five to six races at the France SailGP.
For tender documentation, click here.
Founded in 2018, SailGP strives to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-focused inshore racing in some of the most iconic ports around the world. Rival teams compete in identical F50 catamarans for the event’s prize money as the season culminates in a million dollar winner-takes-all race.
Source: Ortega Daily Times, SailGP