New Zealand driver Peter Burling has dissected the first day of racing in Christchurch, which saw the home Kiwi team dominate fleet racing to finish top of the leaderboard.
The Kiwis executed a racing masterclass in front of sell-out crowds, picking up a commanding 2-1-2 racing record and 28 out of a possible 30 points.
A fast and furious day of racing against the spectacular backdrop of Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour was preceded by a 40 minute delay due to a dolphin sighting on the racecourse.
While frustrating for most teams, this delay proved a stroke of luck to the Kiwis who were working non-stop to fix technical problems ahead of racing. The Tech Team assisted the team on the water to ‘replace a few things and work out what was going on’.
Burling added that, despite the delay, it was ‘pretty special’ to see the dolphins on the racecourse. “We’re really sailing on their home turf so we’ve got to be patient at times - we’re fortunate today that they decided to shift off and let us get three amazing races in.”
The team’s technical problems however robbed the crew of crucial warm up training, which meant they went into the first race ‘cold’.
This resulted in inconsistent starting, with the Kiwis picking up a boundary penalty in the pre-start of the third fleet race.
“We didn’t have any warm up, so we tried a couple of different things - we got one right and a couple a bit wrong but (…) everyone did a great job of keeping it clean, picking off boats and coming away with a few solid scores.”
Reflecting on the Race Day 1 action, Burling thanked the ‘incredible’ support from the sell-out home crowds.
“It’s been amazing seeing how many people are coming down to cheer us on (…) from every vantage point around Lyttelton Harbor, it’s been great to see the support from home fans and it means the world to be able to put on a good show for them today.”
Looking ahead to the second day of racing in Christchurch tomorrow, strategist Liv Mackay said ‘it would mean so much’ to secure an event win at home.
“It’s a crucial time in the season so that’s a factor for everyone, but in front of a home crowd it would mean so much more. We’ll be doing everything we can overnight to bring our best foot forward tomorrow.”
The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch will resume on Sunday at 15:00 NZDT. Full broadcast information and How To Watch details are HERE.