NZL vs AUS: Who will take SailGP finale?

Published on April 27th, 2023

At the top of the Championship leaderboard with a dominating 11-point lead, defending champions Australia remain the team to beat heading into the final installment of Season 3, SailGP San Francisco. Peter Burling’s New Zealand meanwhile currently sits in second place with a comfortable four-point lead ahead of France in third.

Ahead of the 2022-23 Grand Final, May 6-7, SailGP digs into the data and compare the teams’ performances to see which one has the edge heading into the San Francisco shootout.

With such a dominating points lead, Australia is the only team guaranteed a spot in the three-boat, winner-takes-all Grand Final regardless of how the team places throughout fleet racing. New Zealand doesn’t have the same security however, and could fall out of the top three. But for this to happen, Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team would need to win fleet racing, France would need to finish second and the Kiwis in sixth.

Data provided by the F50 fleet compares the performances of both teams throughout the 10 events of Season 3 so far across light, medium and strong wind conditions.

In overall fleet racing, taking into account all conditions, New Zealand performs marginally better, with an average fleet rank of 3.9, in comparison to Australia’s 4.1. It’s the same story in the three-boat Final format, where the Kiwis report an average leg rank of 1.4, in comparison to the Aussies’ rank of 2.

New Zealand also ranks higher, albeit marginally, in all light (under 11km/h), medium (11-15 km/h) and strong (15 km/h+) wind conditions in fleet racing. In light winds, the Kiwis have an average leg rank of 5 in comparison to the Aussies’ 5.2, while in medium winds the Aussie’s average leg rank of 3.8 is only just outstripped by the Kiwis’ 3.6.

In strong winds meanwhile, the Kiwis have an average leg rank of 3.3, lower again than the Aussies’ 4.1. It’s worth emphasizing however that these figures are taking from fleet racing only, meaning there are nine F50s racing on the course, not just Australia and New Zealand.

Despite these figures, the Aussies have an average event finishing position of 2.6 throughout Season 3 – better than the Kiwis’ 3.3.

The Aussies also report more consistent results than the Kiwis, with their worst result of Season 3 being one 5th place finish in Saint-Tropez. The Kiwis meanwhile have finished 6th three times – in Bermuda, Cadiz and Sydney.

The main takeaways from comparing the two teams’ results is that Australia started the season stronger – banking two event wins in both Bermuda and Chicago. New Zealand started weaker but has delivered strong events post-Chicago. Since Saint-Tropez, both teams have been evenly matched.

When it comes to results, the Aussies have the advantage, picking up a total of eight podium positions throughout the season in comparison to the Kiwis’ five. But when it comes to wins, the teams are tied on three apiece. This means that while Australia has had more Final appearances (7) than New Zealand, it’s the Kiwis who perform better in the three-boat Final format, picking up three wins from five. The Aussies meanwhile have picked up three wins from seven.

SailGP informationSeason 3 scoreboardFacebookHow to watch

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 13-14, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 17-18, 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)

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.


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