Canada wins New Zealand SailGP with Britain and France on collision course
Canada achieves first-ever victory at a SailGP event as its Kiwi skipper beats his compatriots and Australia in a close decider in Christchurch… Britain and France are now on a collision course for the season finale
- Canada edged out New Zealand and Australia to win the Christchurch SailGP event
- Her skipper, Phil Robertson, is a Kiwi, so the locals weren’t entirely disappointed
- Great Britain just missed the podium race and finished fourth overall
Canada clinched its first-ever victory in a SailGP event when they ousted home favorites New Zealand and leaders Australia in a thrilling final race in Christchurch.
Her skipper, Phil Robertson, hails from New Zealand and apologized to his compatriots when his adopted team crossed the finish line in first place.
However, the result left Australia and New Zealand in a good position to reach the grand final race at the final event in San Francisco in May.
Whichever boat joins them in this final will, in the best tradition, lead to a battle between Great Britain and France.
Quentin Delapierre’s French boat will head into the city of the Golden Gate by just a single point ahead of Sir Ben Ainslie’s British crew in the standings – and someone will be left bitterly disappointed.
Canada clinched victory on the waters of Lyttelton Harbour, edging out New Zealand and Australia in a close and tense finale of the race weekend
Canadian skipper Phil Robertson hails from New Zealand and apologized to the local crowd after upsetting the Kiwi team
The nine boats in action on the waters of Lyttelton Harbor on the second day of racing
Great Britain enjoyed a consistent weekend here until a sixth place finish in the fifth fleet race after an underperforming start saw them drop behind the Canadians in the standings.
“We didn’t do the starts well enough today,” said Ainslie. “We were actually in pretty good positions at both starts, but we didn’t get it right.
“We dealt with the French on that last start, which didn’t work out for us. The team did a great job to get through but we didn’t do enough to get on the podium which was frustrating.
“But overall win a point against France [in the overall standings] It was pretty important to go to San Francisco.’
SailGP’s unique format means the full 11-race season comes down to the final three-boat race in San Francisco, after the nine-strong field was reduced over the weekend.
“It’s been a while since we’ve won any of these events,” added Ainslie. “We haven’t won an event all season and when there is time it will be the final.”
Robertson’s Canadian boat went neck and neck with Peter Burling’s Kiwis and a partisan home support at Lyttelton Harbor after Australia fell behind early.
Despite falling off the foils and once suffering a penalty for going over the course boundary, the Canadians had more speed than their rivals.
After losing the final races in Bermuda and Chicago earlier in the season, Robertson was thrilled to “get the monkey off our shoulder.”
Ben Ainslie and the British crew just missed the podium race in Christchurch
The British boat pursues Australia (centre) and New Zealand (left) during a race
Canada’s crew sprays champagne on their boat after winning Sunday’s final race
1. Australia 84 points
2. New Zealand 73 points
3. France 69 points
4. Great Britain 68 points
5. Denmark 60 points
6. Canada 59 points
7. United States 57 points
8. Switzerland 29 pts
9. Spain 29 points
He added: “It feels pretty good, especially in New Zealand, my home country. I’m excited.
“It was very special for everyone on the team; We’ve had some ups and downs, especially coming out of Sydney we had to regroup so we’re pretty pumped to get a win after that.
“Winning in New Zealand is great and as a good Canadian would say, ‘Sorry New Zealand!’
The Canadians had edged Great Britain out of the final in the closing moments of the fifth fleet race of the weekend.
Australia had bounced back from a disappointing Saturday, winning both fleet races on Sunday and storming into the three-boat final.
That means the Aussies sit comfortably at the top of the season leaderboard with 84 points and only an absolute disaster in San Francisco will deny them a place in the Grand Finals.
New Zealand had a very good weekend here and are second on 73 points, using their home field advantage to close the gap slightly on Australia.
But it’s the cross-channel clash between Britain and France that will provide the most excitement for the final race weekend of the SailGP campaign.
Most of the home crowd were disappointed as Canada edged out New Zealand in the final
The rolling hills of Lyttelton provided a stunning backdrop for the penultimate race of the year
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-11877609/Canada-win-New-Zealand-SailGP-Great-Britain-France-collision-course.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Canada wins New Zealand SailGP with Britain and France on collision course