New Zealand’s hopes of finishing on the podium for the fourth and final European event of the season were dashed today after an eighth and seventh place finish in qualifying fleet races cost them the points needed for a spot in the winner-takes-all final.

New Zealand finished sixth in the Spain Sail Grand Prix presented by NEAR and remains second in the Season 3 championship, now four points behind Australia.

Season 3 // Spain Sail Grand Prix // New Zealand racing in Cadiz

It was all to play for on day two, with only four points separating New Zealand from front-runners Australia and France. But light air and wavy conditions saw the Kiwis struggle to find consistency in both races, including dropping off the foils in race four to lose vital ground and eventually finish eighth. In race five, two penalties cost the Kiwis, who eventually finished seventh behind Australia in sixth and Switzerland in fifth.

Quentin Delapierre’s French team were the big winners in Cadiz, taking their first event win after consistent performances on Saturday and Sunday. Making it into their second consecutive podium race, Jimmy Spithill’s American crew finished second, while defending SailGP champions Australia came in third.

Describing today’s conditions, Driver Peter Burling said, “We definitely really struggled to find some clean lanes and keep the boat going fast.”

But with the Kiwis in second, now four points behind Australia and five ahead of France in third, Burling said while the team was disappointed in the weekend’s results, they remain fully committed to playing the long game across a season with five events still to go.

“We took some risks and unfortunately those didn’t pay off, but we’re very much focused on being the best team we can be in this league at the end of the season, when it matters.”

“It’s definitely a frustrating one but we have an amazing team around us and a lot to go back to review. This weekend gives that extra bit of motivation heading into the non-European leg of the season. We’re in an exciting place, with a lot of things to work on after each event,” Burling said.

Commenting on a week when the competition couldn’t be closer across the fleet, Burling said, “It’s incredible to see another team [France] taking their first event win. I think that really shows you the level the fleet is going to.”

With the European leg of the Season 3 Championship now finished, Amokura will go back in the shed until the next event in Dubai, 12-13 November - a brand new event location for SailGP in Season 3.