Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resources 2022 - LEADERBOARD

SailGP Chicago: Canada's Phil Robertson reflects on how the Crazy Canuck's success unfolded

by Phil Robertson/Canada SailGP 22 Jun 06:46 PDT 2 May 2021
Canada SailGP Team helmed by Phil Robertson on Race Day 1 of the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix, Chicago at Navy Pier, Lake Michigan, Season 3 © Simon Bruty/SailGP

There aren’t many better race tracks than in front of Chicago’s Navy Pier. Saturday’s racing really showcased this, along with the vision of SailGP and how great this series is for our sport! It was the picture perfect race track. With the city centre as a backdrop, shoreline viewing, a tight race course, flat(ish) water and 14kts of breeze, ideal.

Our lead up to Race 1, wasn’t ideal. There was little time to train, we tipped the boat over during the first day, the warm up was tense and hard to find a nice rhythm. Interestingly the start box had two options, to slingshot in from outside the breakwater, or approach slowly from the inside. After two warm up runs we knew the outside was going to be the best option and all focus went onto getting that right. What impresses me so much is this team just “steps up” once that start countdown begins and on schedule we eased into it nicely.

The fresh water of Chicago brought some new challenges onboard with the rudders washing out (losing grip and stalling) quite often. The take off speeds were 3 - 4 kph later meaning your minimum foiling speed also got increased by that amount. The boats were harder to fly high and the rough water at the bottom of the course served up a real challenge for the flight controllers.

Race 1 is always a very open race, everyone is still green, there are nerves and you are frantically trying to figure out what is working on the course. The goal is always to lay down a consistent performance here with a good score. Our game plan going into the day was to come away with three top four finishes as we knew conditions were going to be fickle on Day 2.

Rounding Mark 1 in second placed we found ourselves in a good spot, we didn’t gybe in the best position so we ended up getting rolled by GBR and sandwiched between a couple of boats. During the next gybe in a tight situation we crashed off our foils dropping us back in the fleet. With a new team like ours, every day and every situation we face is a completely new experience for us.

Rounding the bottom mark we were deep in the pack. A strategic call to sail a higher slower mode gave us one less maneuver on the beat, but also set us up with an all important spit from the pack. We sailed downwind in great pressure and found ourselves jumping three positions and into 4th. Time to sail slightly defensive and bank the 4th, a good Race 1 score.

Race 2 & 3 were fairly similar to each other. Sling shot starts from outside the breakwater and rolling the fleet. When you are reaching at 80kph, on the edge of control and rolling across the front of eight boats with only inches to spare, the feeling is like no other, it’s the reaching start equivalent of port tacking the fleet. Rounding Mark 1 in first sets you up to sail your pre race plan. Sticking to plan A rarely happens with all the variables but these two races it did. Two bullets (wins) and job done! A performance that I am really proud of the team for and a good feeling knowing we’d set ourselves up nicely for Day 2.

The big 29m wings were assembled overnight and light airs greeted us for Day 2. Being a lake with no wind you’d think it’d be flat, but there was a lot of leftover chop from the breeze the day before. Lake Michigan often acts like an ocean and this was our roughest day we’d had despite the lack of wind. Our coach Joe Glanfield put down a simple plan for the day, attack!! Being at the top of the leader board can tempt you into defending, but the light airs didn’t really allow for this.

Race 4, we copped a pre-start boundary penalty which meant we were late for the start line, however with space and speed behind the fleet we were free to pounce. The first downwind we went from last to third and jumped the Swiss on the next upwind to sneak into 2nd. A great first race result which sealed our spot in the final.

Race 5 we came in with a mentality to learn for the final and nailed our start. Leading at Mark 1 only to be just shy of the bottom mark lay line, letting the Aussies past. A shorter course offered less passing lanes and we stayed conservative to finish second again. A huge score card for the five race series left us well clear on top but with the final podium race being the decider we needed to come in hot.

For the rest of this story click here

For Phil Robertson's earlier reports on Season 1, 2 and 3 SailGP regattas click here

Websites:

Phil Robertson Racing for this story and more: philrobertsonracing.com

SailGP covering all teams and events: sailgp.com

For more on the Canada SailGP: sailgp.com/teams/canada

Related Articles

120+ voices for a healthy ocean at UN Ocean Meet
Top sportspeople and ocean communities commit to using their platform for a healthy ocean Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke presented a commitment of over 120 leading sportspeople and ocean communities to UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Thomson at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon on Monday. Posted on 27 Jun
T-Mobile U.S. SailGP Chicago | Highlights Video
Relive all the action from SailGP's freshwater debut For the second straight event final, Phil Robertson's Canada and Ben Ainslie's Great Britain were Australia's rivals for the title, with both left to rue what might have been after falling behind to Australia's fast start and never recovering. Posted on 21 Jun
Australia storm to victory in Chicago
Extraordinary comeback in the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier The Australia SailGP Team continues to set the championship benchmark in SailGP Season 3, as Tom Slingsby pulled off an impressive recovery to not only steal a last-minute spot in the event final, but overcome Great Britain and Canada to win. Posted on 20 Jun
SailGP: 'Crazy Canucks' top leaderboard again
"We are trying to set our expectations low, but we keep blowing them out of the water" - Robertson "We were trying to set our expectations low, but we keep blowing them out of the water. It's tricky," said skipper Phil Robertson, in an exclusive interview with Sail-World, after the first day of racing in Chicago SailGP Posted on 19 Jun
Canada's dream start to SailGP
Phil Robertson's team claims two race wins to lead T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago Phil Robertson's team claims two race wins to lead the T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago at Navy Pier as home team struggles on Lake Michigan. Posted on 19 Jun
SailGP at Chicago prepares for a weekend of firsts
Freshwater racing debut for the nine teams competing at the inaugural event SaillGP's nine teams will be navigating new conditions, a tighter racecourse and a noisy home crowd sat right on the waterfront as the global, purpose-led league makes its freshwater racing debut at Chicago. Posted on 17 Jun
SailGP: Media Conference U.S. Sail Grand Prix
Ahead of the T-Mobile U.S. Sail Grand Prix in Chicago Today's Media Conference in Chicago ahead of the T-Mobile U.S. Sail Grand Prix in Chicago, the second event of Season 3 and first-ever on a freshwater racetrack for the event. Posted on 17 Jun
SailGP to return to Sydney Harbour
Securing the rights to host event for three consecutive seasons Sydney has secured the rights to host the most exciting racing on-water, SailGP, for three consecutive seasons. The championship will return to the iconic Sydney Harbour on February 18 and 19 2023, in the ninth event of SailGP Season 3. Posted on 17 Jun
France SailGP's sustainability and diversity work
Bruno Dubois on the France SailGP Team's sustainability and diversity efforts I checked in with Bruno Dubois, team manager of the France SailGP Team, via email, to learn more about their Season 3 sustainability and diversity efforts. Posted on 15 Jun
SailGP 'Racing on the Edge' : Season 3 Opener
The behind-the-scenes docuseries kicks off with a look back at the Season 3 opener in Bermuda The behind-the-scenes docuseries kicks off with a look back at the Season 3 opener in Bermuda, where a new dynamic emerges and the Canada SailGP Team, led by Phil Robertson, comes out swinging. Posted on 13 Jun
Cyclops 2022 May FOOTERC-Tech 2021 SnuffAir 728x90 BOTTOMArmstrong-Logo-Only-728x90 gif BOTTOM