Mar 23, 2023
After hitting their podium in their first two events in this, CAN SailGP’s inaugural season, winning results have been scarce for the Canadians. But this weekend, the Canadians were the ones to watch, consistently moving up the leaderboard and challenging the hometown favourites. Having overcome the huge setback following on from the severe weather incident in Sydney last month, the Canadians showed true resiliency and that SPIRIT was back in full force.
Racing got underway on Saturday afternoon in Lyttelton Harbour with picture perfect conditions. Consistent and strong starts for driver Phil Robertson and the crew, meant solid finishes (5,3,1) that translated to second place after day one.
Heading into day two, it was critical that the Canadians stay ahead of France and Great Britain to ensure a place in the finals. Phil Robertson and the crew did just that, finishing sixth and fourth, just what was needed to advance to the finals alongside the home team (NZL) and season leader’s Australia.
It’s been a few events since the Canadians were in the finals, but Phil and the crew onboard SPIRIT executed a near perfect final race, with fewer manoeuvres and averaging higher speeds than the Australians and the New Zealanders. Robertson’s match racing skills came in handy and the Canadians maintained a steady lead throughout. There was a heart wrenching moment on leg five, and a risk that the Kiwis would surge ahead, when the Canadians incurred a boundary penalty. As it turned out, the penalty meant one less turn for the Canadians and they sailed clearly to the finish to win the first ever event for Canada!
The team applauded SailGP Technologies’ Herculean effort to get SPIRIT back on the start line after Sydney, without their efforts and those of the SailGP Tech Team, none of this would have been possible.
Sights are now set on the Grand Final in San Francisco on 6-7 May.
CREW LIST // ITM NEW ZEALAND SAIL GRAND PRIX – CHRISTCHURCH
Phil Robertson / Driver
Chris Draper / Wing Trimmer
Billy Gooderham / Flight Controller
Tim Hornsby / Grinder
Tom Ramshaw / Grinder
Graeme Sutherland / Grinder
Isabella Bertold / Strategist
ITM NEW ZEALAND SAIL GRAND PRIX | CHRISTCHURCH //
1 // Canada
2 // New Zealand
3 // Australia
4 // Emirates Great Britain
5 // France
6 // United States
7 // Switzerland
8 // Denmark
9 // Spain