New Zealand’s dominating Final start was key to the Kiwis taking the ultimate victory on the waters of Abu Dhabi against Spain and the USA, according to strategist Liv Mackay.
Speaking on the latest episode of Reaching the Apex, Mackay said the team’s winning start, which saw them secure the all-important inside track to Mark 1, was ‘definitely the winning moment of the weekend’.
The Kiwis crossed the line at 27.8 km/h, far exceeding Spain’s 14.2 km/h and the USA’s 16.2 km/h. As a result, New Zealand was first at Mark 1 and only exceeded their lead as the race progressed, leaving Spain and the USA to fight for second place.
“It’s always so different with three boats, the lines are so much bigger, there’s so much more room and having that speed advantage at the gun is always a winner and the team executed that really well,” Mackay said.
She highlighted the team’s decision to perform a jibe and split at Mark 1. “It was patchy out there, but just trying to stay in the pressure was huge and trying to carry that momentum around the mark and not get slow paid off well.”
Abu Dhabi marked New Zealand’s second consecutive win after the team's victory in Dubai. It marks a significant turnaround for the team after it suffered a catastrophic wing collapse on day one of Saint-Tropez and was forced to sit out the entire Taranto event.
"It was a crucial part of the season for us so it feels like the right direction and we want to keep going,” Mackay added.
Reaching the Apex is sponsored by financial services provider, Apex Group, which has teamed up with SailGP to drive equity for female progression in male dominated environments.