The New Zealand SailGP team has kicked off the new season with a victory in Chicago. Skippered by Peter Burling, the crew showcased their skills in challenging conditions and finished ahead of Australia and Canada in the three-boat final.
Burling expressed his satisfaction with the win, emphasizing the team’s position for the season. He acknowledged that while it will be a long season with the final outcome determined by the last race, winning early on feels good.
The rivalry between Burling and Australian skipper Tom Slingsby was evident throughout last season, with Australia emerging as the champions in the grand final in San Francisco. Despite finishing second in this event, Slingsby commended the Kiwis for their performance and acknowledged their superiority in the final race.
The day’s fleet races saw victories for Spain’s Diego Botin and Switzerland’s Sebastien Schneiter, who had finished at the bottom in the previous season. However, their victories were not enough to secure a spot in the final, which featured light conditions and the F50s in the 29-meter wing configuration, ultimately won by the New Zealand team.
Canada had a strong performance, finishing fifth and second in the fleet races, which earned them a place in the final. However, they were unable to surpass their southern hemisphere rivals.
Unfortunately, it was a disappointing event for the home team, with Jimmy Spithill’s United States finishing in ninth place overall. Spithill emphasized the need to learn from the experience and come back stronger in the next event in Los Angeles.
The SailGP Season 4 Championship standings after the first event are as follows:
- New Zealand – 10 points
- Australia – 9 points
- Canada – 8 points
- ROCKWOOL Denmark – 7 points
- Spain – 6 points
- France – 5 points
- Emirates GBR – 4 points
- Switzerland – 3 points
- United States – 2 points
- Germany – 1 point
The next event, the Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix, will take place on July 22-23, continuing the exciting season of SailGP.