Canada Driver Phil Robertson has reflected on the team’s ‘mammoth performance’ in the first Sail Grand Prix of the season, and revealed preparations are well underway for the United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier event this month.
The fledgling team, which joined SailGP at the beginning of Season 3, came third overall in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess behind Great Britain and winners Australia.
Reflecting on the first event of the season, Robertson revealed on his personal blog that team’s plan was to ‘come in without high expectations, make sure we focused solely on learning an enjoy the experience’.
However, Canada finished fleet racing with a 2-1-5-7-3 racing record which, Robertson said, ‘was not what I expected’.
He highlighted the contribution of former Japan wing trimmer Chris Draper, who was ‘a huge help in the learning process and safety on board’, and the 10 days of dedicated training in the run up to the event, which meant the team accrued 20 hours of F50 sailing experience ahead of the first practice race.
Reflecting on the Final, which saw Canada finish third behind Australia and Great Britain, Robertson said the team made a mistake by being too competitive with the Australian team.
“By attacking Australia, we let Great Britain back into the race, allowing a split and [losing] out to them on the final downwind,” he said.
While finishing on the podium in the team’s first ever event was ‘an incredible achievement’, Robertson admitted the team felt deflated by the result.
“Knowing you had a shot at winning and not laying down your best performance leaves a feeling of ‘the glass half full’ in the moment,” he said.
“Upon reflection, it was a mammoth performance from the team in their first event and something I am really proud of.”
Looking ahead of the United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier, Robertson said the team are ‘under no illusion that we are racing against the best in the world and know we have so much to learn to catch up to them’.
Preparations are well underway, with the team currently analysing their race performances from Bermuda.
“We are more motivated by the result to dig deep into the data and video from our session in Bermuda to make sure we can take another step towards Chicago.”
The United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier will take place on June 18-19.