Jun 29, 2022
Canada SailGP Team helmed by Phil Robertson sails past spectators on Chicago’s Navy Pier on Saturday / Credit: Bob Martin for SailGP
Proving that their stand-out podium finish in the Bermuda SailGP event – Canada’s debut event in the class – was no fluke, the Canadian team took two bullets and finished 2nd overall at this weekend’s Sail GP event in Chicago.
It was a different affair than the first outing with lighter Great Lakes winds on the Chicago stretch of Lake Michigan. It was likely these light winds that kept Canada from taking top spot overall; the Australian boat was able to get their F50 planing much more easily and therefore had a speed advantage in the Grand Finale race. The boats and their 29-metre mains are identical, but Tom Slingsby’s Aussies have had two complete seasons to learn flight management while this was just Canada’s second event.
Fred Pye, founder of Canada SailGP Team, and friends and family of the Canada SailGP Team celebrate onboard an hospitality boat on Race Day 1 / Credit: Katelyn Mulcahy for SailGP
Still, a 2 is pretty impressive especially for a rookie entry so the savvy and speed shown by the Canadians was the talk of the TV broadcasts. Sunday’s racing kicked off on time but at the start of Race 4, the Canadian team went out of bounds so were the last to cross the start line. They persevered and to the awe of the TV crew, worked their way through the fleet to finish in second on the shortened racecourse. Then in Race 5, Robertson offered another master class in starting and the crew sailed on to take another second place finish.
Canada’s F50 in front of the Chicago skyline on the weekend / Credit: Jon Buckle for SailGP
With 45 points, Team Canada finished at the top of the fleet to progress into the Finals against Team Australia and Sir Ben Ainslie’s Team GBR. The Season 2 and Bermuda SailGP winners were out of the blocks from the start, but Canada was close on their heels all the way around the track finishing just 19 seconds behind the Australians to take second place for the event and move into second on the season leaderboard.
“We sailed way above our expectations. I think we have put together a good team. We’ve got a great squad who are eager to learn. Every day we race is a completely new day for us like today – with light air and the big wing, we’ve never done that before. We are learning on the fly! Which is testament to how good this crew actually is,” said Robertson.
Canadian flags were fluttering along the lakeshore and amidst the thousands of fans that lined Navy Pier for the weekend’s racing. We CAN Inspire, the team’s mantra, is also prominently on the team’s wing and close to the hearts of the team’s founders and all team members. Likewise, with the goal of getting the country’s next generation foiling, the team took the opportunity in Chicago to launch the We CAN Foil programme on Friday evening in the presence of the Canadian SailGP Inspire Regatta participants, team partners and suppliers, as well as the potential host city delegations from across the country.
Canada SailGP Team’s sights are now set on the next SailGP event in Plymouth (UK) on 30-31 July.
Canada SailGP Team – Crew List
Phil Robertson (NZL) Driver
Chris Draper (GBR) Wing Trimmer
Billy Gooderham (ON) Flight Controller
Georgia Lewin-Lafrance (NS) Co-pilot/Strategist
Tom Ramshaw (ON) Tactician/Grinder
Tim Hornsby (NS) Grinder
Jareese Finch (BC) Grinder
Graeme Sutherland (AB) Reserve – Wing Trimmer
Isabella Bertold (BC) Reserve – Co-pilot/Strategist
Antonia Lewin-Lafrance (NS) Reserve – Co-pilot/Strategist
Luke Ramsay (BC) Reserve – Flight Controller
Joe Glanfield (GBR) Coach