New Zealand will bounce back from its lacklustre Season 2 performance to book a place in the Season 3 Grand Final, according to the hosts of SailGP’s brand new podcast
Speaking about the team on the first episode of the Deep Dive podcast, SailGP’s international broadcast commentators Stevie Morrison and David ‘Freddie’ Carr predicted a renaissance for the Kiwi team.
Peter Burling’s New Zealand finished fifth in Season 2 with a total of 47 points, behind the British team. Australia won the Championship for the second consecutive year by defeating Japan and the USA in the Grand Final in San Francisco.
Carr attributed the team’s flat performance to the 2020 Olympic Games which saw New Zealand narrowly miss out on a gold medal. The timetable clash of the Olympics, which was rescheduled to 2021, 'disrupted' their SailGP Championship campaign, he claimed.
“The disappointment for those guys to miss an Olympic gold medal on the final downwind on the line is way more than I could comprehend in terms of turning your head around and focusing on sailing,” said Carr.
“I imagine that would devastate you for a good few months - it’s going to take a while to bounce back from there and maybe the second half of their [SailGP] season was a little bit tainted by that.”
Morrison was quick to point out that 2021 also saw New Zealand successfully defend the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland and predicted them to be on an 'upward trend' in Season 3.
He suggested that the ‘mistakes’ of Season 2 could be due to an unfamiliarity with the F50.
“The F50s are one design, they’re identical and they all work one way but it’s not the way the Kiwis are used to having the boat work.”
Carr agreed that the F50 is a ‘wildly different beast’ to the AC75 used in the America’s Cup.
“It doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t feel as natural to them as they hoped,” he said.
However both Carr and Morrison are optimistic for New Zealand’s chances in Season 3, with both predicting them to blast their way to the Grand Final.
“They’re going back to waters they know,” Carr said. “The Kiwis are a tight group (…) they will be the team that makes the significant jump.”
The Deep Dive podcast is available on all major podcast platforms and will feature new episodes ahead of each event of SailGP Season 3.