Canada sets pace at Chicago SailGP
Published on June 18th, 2022
Chicago, IL (June 18, 2022) – Phil Robertson’s Canada SailGP Team continues to show its more experienced rivals how it’s done in Season 3, with the newcomers sitting on top of the standings after day one of the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier.
It was a day that tested the flight controllers to the max. Many battled with the unique challenges of freshwater racing and wind speeds of 32 km/h, struggling to keep their F50s under control. However, the day undisputedly belonged to Robertson, who admitted before racing that the unique course would suit his style of racing.
Coming back from a fourth in the first race, Robertson perfectly judged both of the next two starts and looked relatively unchallenged to take two race wins.
“We’ve got some people with great knowledge and skill,” said Robertson. “It’s a great team culture, we’re in a good space but we’ve got a lot to learn, leading up to this event the last few days have been really tough and I guess it fills us with more confidence that when it comes to race day we can push it.”
Canada SailGP Team strategist Georgia Lewin-LaFrance added, “It was a pretty amazing day, I absolutely loved sailing on the F50 today. It definitely felt like a tight course, the breakwater created a really interesting starting area that suited Phil’s style. I thought there was a good flow of communication onboard today.”
Sir Ben Ainslie and his Great Britain team loom large as a threat to snatch the event title from the Canadians as they sit in second place after the first three races – never counting a result outside the top three and just one point behind Canada.
New Zealand’s Peter Burling looked back to form – with a convincing win in the first race – to complete the podium at the end of the opening day, in third place overall.
“The racecourse is getting tighter and it’s about finding that balance between being aggressive but not pushing it over the edge, it’s all about getting in that final three sail off,” notes Ainslie. “Today was just box office, the conditions were just perfect, and it was just a really good feeling to see those crowds on Navy Pier.”
It was a day to forget for the home team with Jimmy Spithill’s U.S. SailGP Team enduring a difficult time on the water to end day one in last place, failing to finish higher than seventh across the three races.
“We just weren’t able to execute clean laps, it’s as simple as that,” shared Spithill. “There were too many mistakes and too many errors. So we just have to go back and regroup, we’ve just got to come out and try to get a couple of results and keep ourselves in contention for the season.”
Current season leader – Tom Slingsby’s Australia – got off to a shaky start, posting a seventh in the first race of the day but soon recovered, following up with a second and a third and managing on both occasions to make spectacular gains through the fleet.
At the end of day one, Australia is just off the podium in fourth place, to stay in contention to make the final three-boat podium race to decide the event winner tomorrow.
Day One Results*
1. Canada, 4-1-1, 27 points
2. Great Britain, 2-3-2, 26 points
3. New Zealand, 1-5-4, 23 points
4. Australia, 7-2-3, 21 points
5. Denmark, 3-4-8, 18 points
6. Spain, 5-6-5, 17 points
7. Switzerland, 6-7-9, 11 points
8. France, 9-8-6, 10 points
9. United States, 8-9-7, 9 points
*The Japan SailGP Team will sit out the first events of the season due to a series of external factors resulting in only nine F50s being available for the start of Season 3.
2022-23 SailGP Season 3 Schedule*
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31, 2022 – Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 18-19, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 9-10, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 23-24, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 11-12, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 18-19, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 17-18, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)
2022-23 Teams, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Canada, Phil Robertson
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Quentin Delapierre
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
Spain, Jordi Xammar
Switzerland, Sébastien Schneiter
United States, Jimmy Spithill
Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize money to be split among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
For competition documents, click here.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans for event prize money as the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.