Burling's Kiwis take lead in home waters SailGP

The Morning Mails

Burling's Kiwis take lead in home waters SailGP

Peter Burling has steered his Kiwi catamaran to finishes of second, first and second in home waters to take the lead in the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch. Burling had a strong day in gusty conditions in front of thousands of fans. He is looking to solidify Team New Zealand's spot in the standings in tech tycoon Larry Ellison's global league and earn a spot in the season-ending $US1 million ($A1.5m), winner-takes-all, three-boat grand final in early May. The Kiwis scored 28 points, four ahead of Canada who are skippered by New Zealand-born Phil Robertson.

Sir Ben Ainslie has Great Britain in third with 23 points while Quentin Delapierre's French team is fourth with 21. Tom Slingsby and two-time defending champions Australia were fifth with 18 points, while Jimmy Spithill and Team USA were sixth with 16 points in the fleet of nine foiling 50-foot catamarans. There will be three more fleet races on Sunday, with the top three teams advancing to the podium race. Australia sit top of the season leaderboard with 76 points, 12 ahead of the Kiwis, and have all but clinched a spot in the grand final at the end of the San Francisco regatta on the weekend of May 6-7. Slingsby said on Friday he would love to upstage the Kiwis in their home event but Burling - the reigning two-time America's Cup champion helmsman and a three-time Olympic medallist - bested the Aussies in every race in the first SailGP regatta held in New Zealand.

Slingsby, an Olympic gold medalist and former America's Cup champion himself, was fourth in the first race, which was won by France, and had an early lead in race two but finished a distant second to Burling. Australia finished last in the third race. Sign up for our emails

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