Peter Burling’s New Zealand team, currently second in the overall season leaderboard, will ‘come out of the blocks firing’ in Christchurch later this month, according to SailGP’s commentary team.

Dissecting all the racing action from Season 4’s latest installment in Sydney, Todd Harris, Emily Nagel and Stevie Morrison turned their attention to SailGP’s next event in New Zealand, which could prove ‘pivotal’ in the season standings.

Morrison described Christchurch’s Lyttelton Harbour, which hosts the racing, as ‘one of the great iconic venues of last season’, with ‘a brilliant stadium course’ and ‘great conditions’.

Sydney’s podium teams - Australia, ROCKWOOL DEN and New Zealand - were a ‘class apart’ from the rest of the fleet, Morrison said. But he admitted it’s still possible for France or Spain to secure a place in San Francisco’s Grand Final. To do this however, ‘they’ve got to go to New Zealand and win’, he said.

Season 4 // New Zealand, Australia and ROCKWOOL DEN in the Sydney Final

Taylor Canfield’s USA and Giles Scott’s Emirates Great Britain have an outside chance of making it into the top three, he said, but both teams ‘looked some way behind the top boats’ in Sydney. “They’ve got a lot of work to do with those big changes in the line-up,” he said.

Nagel agreed that the Spanish team’s Sydney performance was ‘really promising’, with the team securing a race win and battling at the front of the fleet in other races. “We saw them excel in conditions other than light winds,” she said.

Season 4 // New Zealand underway during Sydney racing

However, her eyes are firmly fixed on New Zealand in Christchurch, especially with the return of driver Peter Burling, who sat out Sydney for the birth of his first child.

“You’ve got to say that the Kiwis will come out of the blocks firing,” she said. “Pete’s going to be back on board, he’s going to have something to prove and on home waters as well, so they’ll definitely have a home advantage.”

Season 4 // Peter Burling in Saint Tropez Mixed Zone

Harris agreed that Burling ‘will be hungry for a big victory’ after the Kiwi team missed out on an event win in Sydney.

The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch will take place on March 23/24.