November 16, 2022
Fleet action on Race Day 1 of the Dubai Sail Grand Prix in, UAE on 12th. Photo: Ricardo Pinto for SailGP
It started well, with a Canadian win in Race 1. Hot out of the blocks, Phil Robertson and the Canada SailGP Team had an excellent start, were first at mark one and from there the team just extended their lead to put the first points on the leaderboard in Dubai.
Having had three days to train prior to the event, the team was familiar with the tight racecourse inside the breakwater of the P&O Marina but with less than 15 km/hr of wind on Day 1, despite using the largest 29m wings, the F50s were struggling to foil by the start of Race 2. The course was then shortened a few times and timed out before the Canadians could cross the finish line, resulting in a 5th place.
Then in Race 3, a penalty in the pre-start for not keeping clear of Great Britain was swiftly followed by a questionable encounter with New Zealand. Several minutes later the umpires made the call to penalize the Canadians, meanwhile the Australians had fouled Canada and were in the process of clearing that penalty! In the heat of the moment, Driver Phil Robertson requested that the umpires review their call regarding the pre-start incident with the Kiwis which was, however, denied.
Canada sailing past a traditional sailing dhow during a demonstration event ahead of the Dubai Grand Prix. Photo: Ricardo Pinto for SailGP.
Going into Sunday with a bit more breeze, the F50s were assigned the slightly smaller 24m wings. However, things did not go to plan for the Canadians. Disappointing starts meant lacklustre finishes of fourth, ninth and eighth.
“It was a quite a start-dominated racecourse today. It was a procession. I didn’t start very well, and we pride ourselves on our starts, so it was disappointing. It’s hard when you don’t execute your plan. That’s tough to take,” said Phil. “We have a lot of work to do off the water while we have the downtime in the weeks leading up to Singapore.”
Mark your calendars for the Singapore Sail Grand Prix on 14-15 January 2023.