The New Zealand SailGP Team will be looking to close the gap and turn last season’s progress into results when it hits the water for the first event of the league’s Season 3 calendar, the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess on May 15 and 16.
Taking place across two action-packed days of racing on the Great Sound, the event will see the Kiwis face off against an expanded line-up of competitors, including new teams Canada and Switzerland. Japan will not be on the start line this weekend, with only nine boats available due to a series of external factors that has meant boat 10 hasn’t been completed in time.
Teams enjoyed more training time than usual in Bermuda, with the Kiwi unit delivering a strong performance in back-to-back days of practice racing on Thursday and Friday. Team Driver Peter Burling said he was pleased with the team’s results.
“We’ve enjoyed a solid build up to this first event of the season and it’s feeling like we’re starting to close the gap. I’m really proud of how the team performed in practice racing and how we performed in San Francisco as well. Consistency and small, incremental changes will be key to inching up the leaderboard and becoming the benchmark team this season.”
Reflecting on last season’s inaugural Sail Grand Prix in Bermuda, Burling said the team faced a number of challenges but was feeling confident ahead of Season 3.
“Bermuda was the first event in the league for us, so we were on a really steep learning curve but we learned a lot in Season 2 and we’re looking forward to putting it into action.”
“It’s always great to be back in Bermuda. It’s a place many of us have spent a lot of time and we’re looking to find that consistency at the start of the season to begin building the team’s performance,” Burling said.
The team also enters Season 3 as reigning champions of the Impact League, a world-first, integrated initiative that rewards teams’ positive environmental and social actions throughout the season to embed sustainability action into the fabric of the sport.
“The Impact League is back and we’re excited to continue to set the standard across the league. We know we can’t be complacent. The competition is intense and we’re going to have to step things up if we want to maintain our place at the top.”
Kicking off at 5am on Sunday May 15 and Monday May 16 NZT (NZT), Kiwis can tune in to all the gripping action on SkySport NZ or streamed live and on demand on YouTube.