Sail GP: Canada Faces Challenges, NZ Explodes in Saint-Tropez

SailGP

Sept 12, 2023

The European portion of SailGP Season 4 got underway this weekend in Saint-Tropez, France.  Having hit record breaking speeds last year on the Côte d’Azur, Phil Robertson and the Canadians were looking forward to this weekend of racing, but things did not turn out as hoped.  A penalty in the pre-start of race one was a precursor of what was to come, and it proved difficult for the team to recover.

A collision with Spain early on in race one set the team back and translated into eight penalty points for the event and an additional four penalty points for the season. 

Soon after rounding the mark, the Canadians had gybed and were on starboard, yet on a collision course with Spain.  It was only at the last minute, that the Spanish altered course, despite being on port.  The umpires ruled however, that Canada did not react to avoid collision.  Driver Phil Robertson challenged the umpires’ allocation of penalty points, the appeal was heard, but denied.

SailGP
New Zealand SailGP Team helmed by Peter Burling view the damage to their F50 catamaran after Race 3 on Race Day 1 of the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez, France. 9th September 2023. Photo: Felix Diemer for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP

The SailGP Tech Team worked late into Saturday night to make the necessary repairs to the Canadian F50 SPIRIT and ensure that everything was back in working order for day two of racing.

On day two, the Canadians had a spectacular start in race four and were first to mark one, yet another tussle dropped the team back to finish in third.  Then an eighth place in race five, meant tenth overall in the event.

The lineup for the France Sail Grand Prix final included Australia, Emirates GBR and Spain, with the British taking the win in the South of France this weekend.

New to the Canadian team is Strategist Annie Haeger, an Olympian (470 Class) who lives in Vancouver, who joined Driver Phil Robertson and the crew onboard. 

NZ Sail collapse

 Meanwhile, New Zealand faced a race against time to compete on day two of the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint Tropez after its wing collapsed moments after the day’s final race. 

It had up to that point been a good day for Peter Burling and his team as they had ended the day second overall in the standings behind Nicolai Sehested’s ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team. An assessment of the New Zealand boat is still ongoing and no athletes sustained any injuries in the incident. 

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