Melbourne, March 18 (US): Peter Burling steered his Kiwi catamaran to second, first and second on home waters to take the lead in the New Zealand Sailing Grand Prix in Christchurch on Saturday.
Burling had a strong day in windy conditions in front of thousands of Kiwi fans. He’s looking to cement Team New Zealand’s spot in the season three standings in tech entrepreneur Larry Ellison’s World League and earn a place in the $1 million, winner-takes-all, three-boat Grand Final in early May.
The New Zealander scored 28 points, four ahead of Canada and its New Zealand-born captain Phil Robertson, according to the Associated Press.
Sir Ben Ainslie of Emirates Airlines was third with 23 points, while Quentin Delapiere’s French team was fourth with 21 points. Tom Slingsby and two-time defending champions Australia were fifth with 18 points and Jimmy Spithell of Team USA was sixth with 16 in Fleet. Nine 50-foot foil boats.
The race was delayed 40 minutes after a dolphin was spotted on the track. This gave the kiwis time to fix some problems with their boat.
There will be three more races for the fleet on Sunday, with the top three teams advancing to the podium race.
kiwi. Only three points separate New Zealand, France and Britain. The Australians clinched a place in the Grand Final at the end of the San Francisco Regatta on May 6-7 and the rival Kiwis are hoping to join them.
On Friday, Slingsby said he would love the Kiwis at their home event. But Burling outperformed his rival in every race.