The tenth and penultimate event of Season 3 made history. Not only was it SailGP’s first ever event in New Zealand, but it crowned a first-time event winner, with Phil Robertson’s Canada picking up the win.
Ahead of racing, SailGP’s Tech Team worked around the clock to repair the F50 fleet in time for racing following an extreme weather event damaging Canada’s F50 and the entire wing supply in Sydney.
But incredibly, the nine-strong F50 fleet was back on the start line less than four weeks after the incident.
Strong winds forecast for Friday led race management to cancel practice racing, meaning teams lacked familiarity with the course and venue-specific conditions heading into the weekend.
Despite a 30-minute delay due to dolphin sightings, team were treated to picture-perfect conditions when racing did get underway, with flat water and breeze of 30km/h.
Peter Burling’s New Zealand dominated the opening day, finishing top of the leaderboard with a near-perfect 2-1-2 racing record. But Phil Robertson’s Canada sat close behind in second after a solid day’s performance, while Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team placed third.
On day two, everything was to play in an additional two fleet races before the all-important, winner-takes-all Final.
Tom Slingsby’s Australia overcame a tricky first day to bounce back, securing two bullets in the last two fleet races. Canada meanwhile saw off stiff competition from Emirates GBR to take the last place in the Final alongside home town favorites New Zealand.
The fast and furious Final was one of the closest yet in SailGP, with plenty of tight crosses and lead changes between Canada and the Kiwis.
Despite two errors, it was the Canadians who were fastest and soared over the finish line to glory.
It marked the first event win for the Canadian team and now means a total of five SailGP teams have picked up trophies throughout Season 3.
The fleet will meet again at the Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco where the ultimate champion of the season will be crowned following a million-dollar, three-boat showdown.