Wind blows Canada’s way in SailGP Chicago while U.S. struggles

Phil Robertson’s Canadian team rebounded from a capsize earlier in the week to win two of three fleet races on Saturday and take the lead in the United States Grand Prix sailing in Chicago on Lake Michigan.

Phil Robertson’s Canadian team rebounded from a capsize earlier in the week to win two of three fleet races on Saturday and take the lead in the United States Grand Prix sailing in Chicago on Lake Michigan.

While the freshman Canadian team surprised the nine-boat fleet, Jimmy Spithill’s American team had a bad day in front of Home County fans by going 8-9-7 to qualify. last overall.

Robertson overcame choppy waters and unpredictable wind shifts off Navy Pier to win the second and third fleet races after Peter Burling sailed Team New Zealand’s 50ft hydrofoil catamaran to win the first race. Canada finished fourth in the first race.

Canada scored 27 points to lead Sir Ben Ainslie and Great Britain by one point, with New Zealand four points off the lead. The Canadian 50ft hydrofoil catamaran was knocked over during a squall shortly after hitting the water for training on Thursday. There are no casualties.

“I guess it gives us more confidence that on race day we can really push it,” said Robertson, a New Zealander who leads his third team in as many seasons in the tech mogul’s World League. Larry Ellison.

Tom Slingsby and the two-time defending champions Australia are fourth with 21 points, followed by Denmark with 18 and Spain with 17.

After two more fleet races on Sunday, the top three crews will advance to the race on the podium.

Team Canada had impressive starts in all three races. Teams had the choice of approaching the line from inside the harbor or from beyond the harbor wall for a longer runup.

“We took a bit of time evaluating the different starting options before the race and it was pretty clear that you wanted to start outside the wall and get there fast,” Robertson said. “We managed to close the gap and come out much faster than everyone else.”

Canada finished third at the season-opening regatta in Bermuda last month.

It was a tough day for the flight controllers who struggled to control their catamarans in the changing wind and other unique Lake Michigan challenges. This is the first freshwater regatta of SailGP’s three seasons.

The American crew struggled the most.

“We are really disappointed. Surely all fans deserve better,” Spithill said. “The main flaw of the team was their inability to run clean laps. It’s as simple as that. There were too many mistakes and too many mistakes.

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Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson

Bernie Wilson, The Associated Press







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