Canada’s Phil Robertson demonstrated the perfect formula to winning SailGP in Christchurch by combining consistent fleet racing results with ‘shoot from the hip’ brilliance, SailGP’s commentators have said.
The team picked up its first ever event win in Christchurch, beating season leaders Australia and New Zealand in the winner-takes-all Final. Canada claimed the last place in the three-boat Final by beating Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team by one-point with a consistent 5-3-1-6-4 fleet racing record.
This, commentator Todd Harris said, is the key to succeeding in SailGP.
“It’s all about consistency and who is going to make the fewest mistakes,” he said. “If you can keep out of the seventh, eighth and ninth place finishes and stay in the thirds, fourths and fifths then you’re going to get into the Final.”
Canada’s performance in Christchurch revisited their early season brilliance, which saw the team battle it out in the Finals of Bermuda and Chicago.
“We haven’t seen this form from them since Chicago - we’ve seen flashes of potential but the consistency wasn’t there," Harris added.
Fellow commentator Stevie Morrison said Canada’s performance was a high point of the event, highlighting driver Phil Robertson’s ‘shoot from the hip style which lends itself to moments of brilliance’. “I kept expecting a mistake because of the pressure they were under - they had to push really hard.”
However, while commentator Emily Nagel agreed that Canada ‘stole the show’ and ‘definitely deserved to win’, she suggested the Kiwis and Aussies ‘threw it away in the Final’.
“If the Kiwis and Aussies had let go of their personal vendettas and looked at the bigger picture, I don’t think Canada would have won,” she said.
She pointed to the moment the Australian boat followed the Kiwis around Gate 2. “We had the Kiwis and Aussies go one way and Canada go the other,” she said. “Instead of going to cover the Canadians, the Kiwis and Aussies were chasing each other down.”
She added that had the Aussies and Kiwis ‘remembered there was a third boat on the course’, ‘the Kiwis probably would have won’.
However, Morrison disagreed that the two boats rounding the same mark was a deliberate decision.
“I don’t think they chose to get caught up with each other,” he said, “Australia got luffed by Phil so their only option was to go for the right turn which the Kiwis had already gone for.”
“The nature of the three boat Final is it’s difficult to know whether to stick or twist”.
The F50 fleet will next meet at the all-important Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco, with racing scheduled to take place on May 6-7.