New Zealand took on Canada in the Sail GP

The SailGP fleet in action at Lyttelton Harbor in Christchurch.
Photo: Photo sport

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

But New Zealander Phil Robertson led the way for winners Canada, knocking out New Zealand and Peter Burling to secure Canada’s first win.

In one of the closest final games of the season, the Canadians went head-to-head with Burling, with close crosses and lead changes throughout.

New Zealand, Canada and Australia all started well in the final, but it was Canada who got to Mark One first with the all-important inside court.

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

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

Robertson said he was delighted to finally submit an event win and “thrilled to win at home”.

“We gave it a good shot to let the Kiwis back into it but we managed to scrub the penalty and get to the bottom quickly, so happy days!”

“I’ve got my parents, wife and brothers here and it’s a first win for Canada — we’re trying to be competitive with the top teams, so today is just an example of what we can do,” Robertson said.

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

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

The victory came only after Canada entered the top three final clash by beating the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team in the closing moments of the fifth fleet race.

Despite two wins on the second day in Christchurch, Tom Slingsby’s Australia never posed a serious threat as the final unfolded.

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

France remain third despite finishing fifth in Christchurch, but have a slim one-point lead over fourth-placed Emirates Team GBR.

The nine-man F50 fleet will compete in the Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco in early May, where the season champion will be crowned.


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