Phil Robertson’s Canada has made history by securing its first ever event win in a neck and neck showdown against home favorites New Zealand and season leaders Australia on the waters of Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour.
In one of the closest Final battles of the season, the Canadians went head to head with Peter Burling’s home town heroes, with tight crosses and lead changes throughout.
A perfect start by all three boats meant everything was to play for as the Final got underway, but it was Canada that was first at Mark One with the all-important inside track.
Despite falling off the foils and even picking up a boundary penalty, the Canadians were consistently faster than the Kiwis and crossed the line to pick up 10 season points.
It marks the first win for the young team, which previously lost out in the Finals of Bermuda and Chicago earlier in the season.
Speaking about Canada’s win, Robertson said he was pleased to ‘get that monkey off our shoulder’. “We gave it a good shot of letting the Kiwis back into it, but we managed to scrub the penalty and come fast into the bottom, so happy days!”
Kiwi Robertson added that he was ‘stoked to win at home’.
“I’ve got my parents, wife and brothers here and it’s a first win for Canada - we’re trying to be competitive with the top teams so today is just an example of what we can do.”
It comes after Canada squeezed into the Final showdown by narrowly beating Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team in the final moments of the fifth fleet race.
Despite picking up two race wins on the second day of racing in Christchurch, Tom Slingsby’s Australia never posed a serious threat as the Final unfolded.
However, the event results mean the Aussies remain comfortable at the top of the overall Season leaderboard with 84 points, while New Zealand, in second place with 73, has slightly closed the gap. France remains in third with 69 points despite finishing fifth in Christchurch, but has a slim one-point lead ahead of Emirates Team GBR in fourth.
This means there will be a tight battle between France and Emirates Team GBR for the final place in the three-boat, winner-takes-all Championship Final in San Francisco. The nine-strong F50 fleet meet again for the Season 3 Grand Final on May 6-7 where the season champion will be decided.