All ten teams were eager to line up today at the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch, after yesterday’s three fleet races were cancelled due to marine mammal sightings on the racecourse.

With over 30 km/hr of breeze, speeds were averaging in the 50-70km/hr range, with the 24M wings and large foil configuration for today’s three fleet races, followed by the final.

It was all on in the pre-start of race one - first the US collided with Canada, followed by the Danish. "We were the meat in the sandwich!" said Driver Phil Robertson.

New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch | Season 4 | Fleet | Racing

The incident put the Danes out of the race and cost them valuable season points. Then at mark 1, Canada and New Zealand turned to avoid the boundary, forcing Australia (who were on the inside) to turn, yet they immediately hit the finish mark and were out for the rest of the event. Phil and the Canadians battled it out in that race to finish a respectable 5th.

“It was like demolition derby! I think we had been involved in three crashes by the time we reached the bottom mark,” said Phil at the end of race one. “We like the upper range with the light air boards and we had the boat dialled in. We knew we had to keep pushing hard to hopefully make the final.”

A perfectly timed start by Driver Phil Robertson in race two, meant the team led at mark one, sailed a seamless race around the track, to take the win.

Going into race three, the team knew that they needed to finish ahead of either Spain, France or New Zealand. By securing a 3rd place, with the Spanish behind the Canadians, Phil and the crew advanced to the final to line up against New Zealand and France.

New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch | Season 4 | Fleet | Racing

Robertson claimed the Rolex Best Timed Start in the final race, but Driver Peter Burling and the Kiwis got by the Canadians just before the first mark and went on to win their home event, with France and Canada finishing in second and third respectively.

“We were so close to nailing that start. We had a plan and got very close to executing it. The Kiwis did a pretty good job just to get a tiny, tiny hook on us,” said Phil. "All in all it was a great weekend. It would have been nice to take the win again, but we do jump up a place on the leaderboard."

Over 22,000 fans filled the race stadium in Christchurch this weekend, including the team’s new mascot ‘Justine Beaver ‘ who charmed the crowds, while cheering the team on from the grandstands.

From Christchurch, Driver Phil Robertson, Flight Controller Billy Gooderham and Grinder Jareese Finch will head to Halifax to officially launch the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix ahead of tickets going on sale on Wednesday, 27 March at 1000 ADT.

As part of the weCANfoil Development Programme and SailGP Inspire Careers, Kat Walker a talented foiling coach from Halifax, joined the team in Christchurch.

The next event for the team will be the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix 4-5 May, before heading to Halifax for the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix on 1-2 June.

New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch | Season 4 | Leaderboard | Canada


Denmark lost 8 event points and 4 season points for an incident at the start of race one. Denmark was the windward boat and made contact with Canada to leeward, resulting in damage to the Canadian F50. As a result of the incident, Canada was unable to avoid the USA, which was leeward of Canada. Denmark was found to have broken rule 14, while Canada and the USA did not, so no penalty points were given to them.

Australia was docked 12 event points and 8 season points after hitting a race mark in the first fleet race. Australia was approaching the boundary after rounding the first mark and had to keep clear of Canada. By avoiding Canada, Australia collided with the mark. Australia has requested a penalty point review.