Peter Burling steered his Kiwi catamaran to finishes of second, first and second...
Melbourne, Mar.18 (BNA): Peter Burling steered his Kiwi catamaran to finishes of second, first and second in home waters to take the lead in the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix Christchurch on Saturday.
Burling had a strong day in gusty conditions in front of thousands of Kiwi fans. He’s looking to solidify Team New Zealand’s spot in the Season 3 standings in tech tycoon Larry Ellison’s global league and earn a spot in the season-ending $1 million, winner-take-all, three-boat Grand Final in early May.
The Kiwis scored 28 points, four ahead of Canada and its New Zealand-born skipper, Phil Robertson, reports AP.
Sir Ben Ainslie has Emirates Great Britain in third with 23 points while Quentin Delapierre’s French team is fourth with 21. Tom Slingsby and two-time defending champion Australia was fifth with 18 points and Jimmy Spithill of Team USA sixth with 16 points in the fleet of nine foiling 50-foot catamarans.
Racing was delayed 40 minutes after a dolphin was spotted on the course. That gave the Kiwis time to fix some issues with their boat.
There will be three more fleet races Sunday, with the top three teams advancing to the podium race.
Kiwis. There’s only three points separating New Zealand, France and Britain. The Aussies have all but clinched a spot in the Grand Final at the end of the San Francisco regatta May 6-7 and the rival Kiwis hope to join them.
Slingsby said Friday that he would love to upstage the Kiwis in their home event. But Burling bested his rival in every race.