With the announcement that Canada would become the 10th team to join the Sail GP flotilla for the 2022/23 season, and with strict nationality rules governing the makeup of the boat crew on the water for each race getting an experienced F50 Catamaran helmsman would be first priority for Team Canada.
That search ended on St.Valentine’s day with the video release that the current driver for Sail GP Spain, Phil Robertson would be taking up the challenge of moulding the newest crop of F50 sailors for Team Canada.
Hailing originally from the sailing mecca of Auckland New Zealand, Robertson has been instrumental in growing two fledgling teams from the ground up. His first Sail GP season was spent at the helm of the Chinese F50 guiding them to a very respectable third place finish in Sail GP’s maiden season. Season two would see the withdrawal of the Chinese team from the Sail GP flotilla, but it would see Robertson take up the challenge of building the new Spanish team into a challenger for the Sail GP title.
Although the final spot in the Sail GP Grand Final is technically still up for grabs it will take an upset of major proportions for Spain to make up the necessary points to steal the final Sail GP Grand Final spot from fellow New Zealander Nathan Outeridge’s Japan team.
Robertson’s experience of teaching and sailing with a young inexperienced team will prove invaluable as they learn to tame the beast that is the F50 Catamaran.
With noted Canadian sailors Bill Gooderham, Georgia Lewin-Lafraine and Luke Ramsay aboard the Artemis racing simulator in Belfast training with Robertson, the GC32 Racing Tour has also seen both the new Swiss Team and Team Canada training in Lagos, Portugal ahead of the first fleet race in Bermuda in May.
To quote Bill Gooderham during his pre-training interview for the SailGP website:
“There really has never been anything of this calibre that’s been happening in our country since the late eighties and the America’s Cups that Canada was involved in, so this is a huge opportunity.”
With Jordi Xamar now being seen at the helm of the Spanish Sail GP F50 during practice in San Francisco, it has since been confirmed that Robertson’s time with the Spanish Sail GP team is at a close and he is free to begin the task of helping Sail GP Canada begin the awesome task of getting ready for the opening race in Bermuda.
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