CAN SailGP: Podium in NZ Demolition Derby

Apr 3, 2024

Canada SailGP Team sail past the grandstand on Race Day 2 of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch, New Zealand. Sunday 24th March 2024. Photo: Chloe Knott

“It was like demolition derby! I think we had been involved in three crashes by the time we reached the bottom mark,” said Phil at the end of race one.

The ten teams were eager to line up last Sunday at the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch, after Saturday’s fleet races were cancelled due to marine mammal sightings on the racecourse. With over 30 km/hr of breeze, speeds were averaging in the 50-70km/hr range, with the 24M wings and large foil configuration for today’s three fleet races, followed by the final.

The fleet sail past the grandstand as the Australia SailGP Team collide into the finish line marker resulting in damage to their F50 catamaran forcing them to retire from the event on Race Day 2 Photo: Ricardo Pinto

It was all on in the pre-start of race one – first the US collided with Canada, followed by the Danish. “We were the meat in the sandwich!” said CAN driver, Phil Robertson. The incident put the Danes out of the race and cost them valuable season points. Then at mark 1, Canada and New Zealand turned to avoid the boundary, forcing Australia (who were on the inside) to turn, yet they immediately hit the finish mark and were out for the rest of the event. Phil and the Canadians battled it out in that race to finish a respectable 5th.

A perfectly timed start by Driver Phil Robertson in race two, meant the team led at mark one, sailed a seamless race around the track, to take the win.

Going into race three, the team knew that they needed to finish ahead of either Spain, France or New Zealand. By securing a 3rd place, with the Spanish behind the Canadians, Phil and the crew advanced to the final to line up against New Zealand and France.

Robertson claimed the Rolex Best Timed Start in the final race, but Driver Peter Burling and the Kiwis got by the Canadians just before the first mark and went on to win their home event, with France and Canada finishing in second and third respectively.

New Zealand standings

As part of the weCANfoil Development Programme and SailGP Inspire Careers, Kat Walker a talented foiling coach from Halifax, joined the team in Christchurch.

The next event for the team will be the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix 4-5 May, before heading to Halifax for the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix on 1-2 June.

Season leaderboard

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