New Zealand pipped by Canada in Sail GP

SailGP sailing operates from Lyttelton Harbor in Christchurch.
Image: Photosport

New Zealand had to settle for second in the first Sail GP event at Lyttelton Harbor in Christchurch.

But New Zealand’s Phil Robertson was at the helm of the victory over Canada, New Zealand and Peter Burling were kicked out to secure Canada’s first victory.

In one of the most recent battles of the season, the Canadiens faced Burling, with close crosses and lead changes throughout.

New Zealand, Canada and Australia all had good starts to the finish, but Canada was the first to Mark One and the most important point inside.

Despite falling off the charts and even picking up a boundary penalty, the Canadians were still faster than New Zealand and Australia.

It marks the first win for the young team, who lost in the finals in Bermuda and Chicago earlier in the season.

Robertson said he was happy to finally get a win and “get to win at home”.

“We tried hard to get the Kiwis back in, but we were able to cancel the penalty and get down early, happy days!”

“My parents, my wife and my brothers are here and it’s a first win for Canada – we’re trying to compete with the top teams so it’s just today is an example of what we can do,” said Robertson.

Spectators watch from the grandstand at the Sail GP event in Christchurch.

Spectators watch from the grandstand at the Sail GP event in Christchurch.
Image: Brett Phibbs for SailGP

The victory came just after Canada squeezed into the top three of the final by defeating the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team in the closing moments of the fifth race.

Despite taking two race wins on the second day of racing in Christchurch, Tom Slingsby’s Australian team never posed a serious threat during the finals.

However, the results of the event mean that Australia remain comfortably at the top of the overall lead with 84 points, while New Zealand, in second place with 73, has closed the gap slightly.

France are third despite finishing fifth in Christchurch, just one point ahead of fourth-placed Emirates Team GBR.

The nine F50 crews will compete in the Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco in early May, where the season champion will be decided.


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