Canada wins SailGP Christchurch
Published on March 19th, 2023
Phil Robertson’s Team Canada made history by securing its first ever SailGP win at ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch on March 18-19 held at Lyttelton Harbour.
In one of the closest Final battles of the season, the Canadians went head to head with Peter Burling’s Kiwi team, with tight crosses and lead changes throughout. Season leader Australia finished third.
Training time was limited for all nine teams when practice was canceled before day one due forecasted high winds, and there was no time prior to racing both days due to dolphins on the race course.
The Final had a perfect start by all three boats 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 on the final downwind leg, the Canadians were consistently faster than the Kiwis and crossed the line to pick up 10 season points.
“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!” said Robertson.
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. New Zealand was the top scorer in the 5-race qualifying series.
It marks the first win for the young team, which previously lost out in the Finals of Bermuda and Chicago earlier in the season. It also followed the previous event in Sydney when its wing and new F50 sustained significant damage in an extreme weather incident shortly after racing on the first day.
Canada’s triumph now means a total of five teams have won an event in Season 3, with Canada joining Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States.
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 $1 million Championship Final in San Francisco. The nine F50 teams meet again for the Season 3 Grand Final on May 6-7 where the Season 3 champion will be decided.
Final Results – New Zealand
1. Canada (Phil Robertson), 5-3-1-4-1
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 2-1-2-2-3-2
3. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 4-2-9-1-1-3
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 3-4-3-4-6
5. France (Quintin Delapierre), 1-6-5-3-7
6. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 8-5-4-9-2
7. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 6-7-6-8-5
8. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 7-8-8-6-8
9. Spain (Jordi Xammar/Diego Botin), 9-9-7-5-9
Note: Before the final three-boat race, NZL won the 5-race series followed by AUS and CAN.
Season Three Standings (after 10 of 11 events)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 84 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 73 points
3. France (Quintin Delapierre), 69 points
4. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 68 points
5. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 60 points
6. Canada (Phil Robertson), 59 points
7. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 57 points
8. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 29 points
9. Spain (Jordi Xammar/Diego Botin), 29 points
• Spain SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Plymouth
• Switzerland SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Saint-Tropez
• United Stated SailGP Team: Docked four points in Season Championship for eight-point penalty at Saint-Tropez
• New Zealand SailGP Team: Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Dubai; Docked two points in Season Championship for four-point penalty at Singapore
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 19-20, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 10-11, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 24-25, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 12-13, 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 18-19, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)
Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three qualifying races each day for all nine teams.*
• The top three teams from qualifying advance to a final race 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.
* Qualifying schedule increased from five to six races at France SailGP.
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.