The first F50s have touched down on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour, with the New Zealand SailGP Team hitting the water for recommissioning following extensive repairs and a full electronic and hydraulic refit earlier this month.

“We’re very lucky to be the first team out on the water today,” said Flight Controller Andy Maloney.

“After the issues we had in Singapore, we’re back out on Amokura and recommissioning the boat. That’s a case of going through a whole bunch of manoeuvres to make sure the hydraulics and electronics are working properly and that the boat won’t have any niggly issues come race day.”

Season 3 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix // Amokura training in Lyttelton

With the sailing team and shore crew hard at work onboard, Amokura underwent a series of tests, coming up with a clear bill of health ahead of this weekend’s event.

Wing Trimmer Blair Tuke said, “It was a short sail for us today but nice to load the boat up, get a few tacks and gybes in and ensure all systems are working correctly, which they are. A huge credit to everyone for putting in so much mahi to get Amokura back on the start line after the lightning strike in Singapore,” Tuke said.

Season 3 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix // Close up of NZ F50 in Lyttelton training

The Spain SailGP Team also had an additional day of sailing to give the crew, and new driver Diego Botin, additional training time before this weekend’s event - only the second for Botin behind the wheel of an F50.

SailGP makes its long awaited New Zealand debut this weekend, with two days of racing on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour, 18-19 March 2023. Earlier this week it was confirmed that all nine nations would be on the start line following an extensive repair programme at SailGP Technologies in Warkworth, and on site in Lyttelton.

International teams, SailGP staff, partners and stakeholders were welcomed to Aotearoa, New Zealand yesterday in an official pōwhiri, held at Rāpaki marae, the ancestral home of Te Hapū ō Ngāti Wheke Rāpaki, guardians of the harbour and surrounding whenua.

“It’s been wicked being in Christchurch,” said Maloney. “The locals have welcomed us with open arms. We’ve had an amazing powhiri with Ngati Wheke at Rapaki marae, and we’re looking forward to all of our friends getting down here in the next few days.”

The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sport NZ between 3-4.30PM Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March, and free-to-air on Three and ThreeNow - live on Saturday and with delayed coverage Sunday, 4.30-6.00PM.