SailGP Makes First Canadian Stop, Great Britain Takes Top Spot

Sail Grand Prix (SailGP) closed out its first Canadian event in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the Emirates Great Britain team coming out on top.

The race, which ran from June 1–2, started off strong, with spectators jam-packed into both sides of the Halifax Harbour as strong winds ensured fans an exciting day of racing while providing a challenging course to the competitors.

The first race in Halifax went well for the Spanish team, headed by Diego Botin, with the team coming in first as the Canadian team trailed behind in seventh place. Eager to make a showing in their home country, the Canadian team came in third place during the second race behind New Zealand and Rockwool Denmark, who finished 10 seconds ahead of the New Zealand team. 

Canada went on to hold their placement in the third and final race of the day, following behind Emirates Great Britain in second and Australia in first. With a mixed bag of winners on day one, many teams were vying for qualification on day two’s winner-takes-all final race.

By day two of SailGP Halifax, strong rains and wind presented a major roadblock to team tactics as the fourth race kicked off in the harbour. Weather conditions severely hampered the ability to safely crane all ten F50 foiling catamarans into the Halifax Harbour, which resulted in the teams from Switzerland and the United States not taking part in Sunday’s races due to their ninth and tenth placement on the event’s leaderboard.

The Canadian team, spurred on by the support of their fellow Canadian fans, clinched a first-place win during the event’s fourth race. Coming in second place was the French team, followed by Emirates Great Britain in third.

The fifth fleet race, which would be the deciding factor for the final, saw the Spanish team yet again take first, followed by Emirates Great Britain and France. Mirroring Spain’s initial first place win, team Canada trailed behind in seventh, missing out on a potential placement in the final. The Australian team, who hold the distinction of being three-time SailGP champions, also missed out on the podium after coming in eighth on the fifth race.

Despite having no firsts in the fleet races, Emirates Great Britain secured a spot in the final with their consistently high placements, ending up with a score of 40 points. The second overall team was France, which ended up with 35 points, tying with Rockwool Denmark in third. Canada ended up placing sixth with a total of 34 points, beating out Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

The winner-takes-all final saw Emirates Great Britain, headed by Driver Giles Scott, claim first place for the Halifax stop. The second place medalists were the French team, led by Quentin Delapierre, and the Rockwool Denmark team led by Nicolai Sehested secured third place.

Following the resounding success of SailGP Halifax, SailGP committed to returning to the Canadian port for their 2025 and 2026 season, saying the venue was a good fit for their races. The next SailGP event will take place in New York City from June 22–24, 2024, followed by the SailGP Championship in San Francisco from July 13–14, 2024.

Photos by Tracey Wallace

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