The Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix Chicago got underway yesterday in Chicago, with fans lined along Navy Pier to watch ten teams battle it out in the first event of SailGP Season 4.

Despite a bit of turbulence shoreside for the team since the end of Season 3 last month, Phil Robertson and the Canadian team did what they do best, perform on the water.

Season 4 // Canada SailGP Team // Canada with the fleet in Chicago

Precise starts and seamless teamwork translated into third, first and fifth place finishes meaning that at the end of day one, the team was just two points out of first, just behind New Zealand and Australia.

Going into today, completely different conditions meant that the teams were sailing with the 29 metre wings and just four crew onboard. The extremely light air conditions were fickle, but the Canadians persevered to finish at the top of the leaderboard after five races and progress into the finals against New Zealand and Australia.

“It’s all on when you get to the last race. We had a good sniff at it, but we just didn't quite get there. It was slow, but racing,” said Phil. “Everyone is in the same position, the boats and breeze are identical, so it is still a race. But there is not much you can change in that sort of format, it was a short course and light.”

“We finished third, but for the team as a whole, it’s a great start to the season. We’re over the moon to be on the podium. If we keep this momentum going, we will be in great shape by the end of the season,” said wing trimmer Chris Draper. “Phil is the best starter in the league!” added strategist Isabella Bertold.

“It’s a solid result, with all the chat that was going on and an unsettled lead up to this race, we had our backs against the wall and we delivered,” said Phil.

Also competing in Chicago this weekend were seven young Canadians from the weCANfoil programme. Jackson Macaulay of Halifax finished second overall and Tate Howell (Toronto) was the top Canadian female in the Inspire Regatta.

The team’s sights are now set on the Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix on 22-23 July.