Sail away: SailGP
Exciting, action-packed SailGP returns to Ōtautahi, Christchurch, this March. Live, close-up, on the water racing, SailGP has to be seen to be believed.
Following its Season 3 debut in Ōtautahi Christchurch, the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix will return to the spectacular Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour on 23-24 March 2024.
Back and bigger than ever, SailGP will bring more fans into the action than ever before, with plenty of thrills, spills, and boat-on-boat action. SailGP’s fourth season spans 13 events in iconic destinations around the world, with New Zealand marking the ninth stop on the calendar. Athletes will lay it all on the line, so be there to cheer on Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and the New Zealand SailGP Team.
Live coverage of the event will be hosted on Television Three and ThreeNow, in addition to fan zones in central Christchurch. Currently, the teams are lining up to race in Sydney on 24-25 February, after which they will head to Lyttelton.
January’s racing in Abu Dhabi bolstered Team New Zealand’s sailing reputation. Having mastered the light conditions and its nemesis – the 29 metre wing – it beat Spain and the United States in front of a sold-out crowd, taking back-to-back victories. Co-CEO (with Blair Tuke) of Team New Zealand, Peter Burling says winning the last two events has been fun, although it has been very stressful racing. “Just battling it out in the middle of the fleet all day in these light wind conditions, it’s not easy,” he says.
In the 2023 three-boat event final in Abu Dhabi, the Kiwis had the strongest start, crossing the line first and leading round the first mark from Spain and the United States. With New Zealand in the lead around Gate 3, and Spain and USA arriving at the same time behind them, the Kiwis managed to extend their lead to take the win, and claim the title of champions of the UAE – followed by Spain and finally the United States.
Heading into the Sydney racing, the Abu Dhabi results close the gap between the Aussies (still first overall on the leaderboard) and New Zealand, which is now only six points behind in second place. The Kiwis now hold the record of the most event wins across Season 4.
A podium finish in Abu Dhabi saw team US move up the leaderboard from fifth to third. The SailGP fleet arrives for the eighth event of Season 4 in the heart of Sydney, Australia, later this month, followed by the ninth event in Lyttelton in March.
SAILGP SEASON 4 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after seven events)
1 Australia 56 points
2 New Zealand 50 points
3 United States 43 points
4 ROCKWOOL Denmark 43 points
5 Spain 42 points
6 Emirates GBR 41 points
7 France 38 points
8 Canada 37 points
9 Germany 16 points
10 Switzerland 12 points