Live updates: NZ Sail Grand Prix at Lyttelton Harbour, Christchurch, Day One

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Placings: 1-Canada 10pts, 2-NZ 9pts, 3-GB 8pts, 4-USA 7pts, 5-France 6pts, 6-Switzerland 5pts, 7-Spain 4pts, 8-Denmark 3pts, 9-Australia 2pts

Overall: 1-NZ 28pts, 2-Canada 24pts, 3-GB 23pts, 4-France 21pts, 5-Australia 18pts, 6-USA 16pts, 7-Switzerland 14pts, 8-Denmark 10pts, 9-Spain 8pts

Great day for the Kiwis, with three top-two finishes. They have inside running towards the final, but two more races tomorrow before we get there. 

Some teams have work to do, with Australia suffering some damage, and GB and France battling for a spot in the final, behind Canada.

Join us again tomorrow for the second day of racing at Lyttelton.


Canada cross first, but NZ right on their heels, with GB an important third. USA next, then France.

Top speed for the race was 88.2kph by Canada

Sixth leg

Canada and NZ head into the last gate, Canadians still ahead...

Canada ahead at the gate, NZ second and GB third. Kiwis split and have right of way next time they cross with Canada.

Fifth leg

NZ and GB have all the speeed, and they are gaining on Canada. Mini match race between NZ and GB, but the Aussies have a broken rudder and trail in eighth.

Kiwis within 85 metres of Canada, British chasing them hard and now right on them.

Canada still ahead and NZ follow them around the fourth gate. GB third and France are now up to fourth.

Fourth leg

Kiwis have dropped the Aussies and GB also move through into third.

Canada first around, but NZ and Australia have right of way over GB and are next around. They split from the Canadians and head down the right of the course.

Third leg

The Kiwis may have edged ahead of GB, as they head into the gate

Canada into a big lead, GB second, NZ third

Second leg

Canada head into Gate Two, but NZ now third, behind France. The French fall off the foils and suffer a penalty, after turning too close to the Aussies.

Big pack at the head of the field, but NZ off the back, serving their penalty. They move through the fleet to second, great recovery.


Spithill hits the line first and fastest for USA, with the Kiwis trailling at the back of the field.

One minute to go and NZ have taken a middle course for this start. They incur a boundary penalty...

Another seven legs with wind speed of 28kph.

Winds have become gustier through the course of the afternoon and the finish-line has moved as a result. France are having trouble with their boat, with only three minutes until the start of the next race.


Placings: 1-NZ 10pts, 2-Australia 9pts, 3-Canada 8pts, 4-GB 7pts, 5-USA 6pts, 6-France 5pts, 7-Switzerland 4pts, 8-Denmark 3pts, 9-Spain 2pts

Overall: 1-NZ 19pts, 2-Australia 16pts, 3-France & GB 15pts, 5-Canada 14pts, 6-Switzerland & USA 9pts, 8-Denmark 7pts, 9-Spain 4pts

NZ take the lead of the regatta, with the Aussies second, and France and GB battling for the third spot


NZ heading straight to the finish and will take the win. Great result for  their hopes of making tomorrow's final, beating Australia.

Sixth leg

NZ now 71kph and lead by 250 metres, heading to the last gate, then a sprint to the finish

Fifth leg

They round Gate Five ahead, Australia second and Canada third...GB have moved up the fleet to fifth, but France eighth

Kiwis leading downwind at 58kph, with Australia second. They've picked up a windshift and are now more than 100 metres clear.

Fourth leg

Aussies follow Kiwis around fourth gate and almost crash. NZ only just recover from that turn, but Aussies have lost ground.

NZ and Australia on opposite sides of the course again and the Kiwis ahead now, Canada third... GB seventh and France eighth.

Third leg

Australia have to dip under the Kiwis at the gate, so NZ lead around gate three

NZ dip below Australia, but will hold right-of-way next time they meet. Canada in third, then Denmack and France back in sixth, GB at the rear, so good news for the Kiwis.

Australia and NZ split to opposite sides of the course, Spain teeter and almost capsize. Denmark in third, same side as Australia.

Second leg

Australia and NZ head the field into the second gate...

The fleet head towards the right layline and then Gate Two, still jockeying for positions.


NZ catch that start perfectly, Australia in the lead, but the Kiwis fastest on the line...

One minute siren sounds, with NZ at the right end of the field and one of the last to turn towards the line.

Two minutes until the start of Race Two, so very little time to reflect in this rapidfire format. Confirmation of seven legs again for this race, same as the first.


Placings: 1-France 10pts, 2-NZ 9pts, 3-GB 8pts, 4-Australia 7pts, 5-Canada 6pts, 6-Switzerland 5pts, 7-Denmark 4pts, 8-USA 3pts, 9-Spain 2pts

Good start from the Kiwis, as they try to nail a spot in tomorrow's final and only three boats progressing, but their nearest rivals are also right there in contention.


Kiwis have split from France and have just one manoeuvre, compared to two from their opponents, but France have too much speed and win the race.

NZ are second, 13 seconds back, and GB third.

Sixth leg

French have lengthened their advantage again over the Kiwis, as they approach the sixth gate and head to the finish

France around the fifth gate first and go right, NZ head left, GB and Australia follow France. Canad and Denmark almost collide at the gate

Fifth leg

NZ closing right up on France on the right layline

France round the fourth gate first, NZ go right, but the Aussies split left.

NZ closing on the French, now within 125m, GB and Australia dicing for third

Fourth leg

USA and Switzerland have penalties for leaving the course

France have opened up a couple of hundred metres in the lead and NZ still second, with Australia third

Third leg

Aussies tack in front of the Kiwis, France round first and NZ second, Australia, then GB

Kiwis have moved into second and gaining on the French upwind to the third gate.

Upwind, France in the lead, Australia second, NZ in fourth, behind Canada and closing on the French.

Second leg

France lead around gate two, Australia next, NZ close on the leaders

First leg

Canada hold the lead at the first mark, but the field still spread across the track as they turn towards gate two. NZ back in seventh, France take the lead...


Clean start by all, with Canada in the middle and NZ at the right, trying to round the field.

Timing is everything here, as the boats round towards the line.

Less than two minutes and boats are milling around the start area, preparing to unleash their pre-start manoeuvres. One minute to go now...

3:36pm - The dolphins have gone and racing will begin in six minutes.

3:30pm - Still no sailing on the course, as dolphins pass through...

3:11pm - The first race has been delayed, after a dolphin sighting near the course. SailGP is very conscious of preserving the ocean and its wildlife, so the dolphins must come first.

3:02pm - The format for racing this weekend will see three races today and two more tomorrow, before the three-boat regatta final.

Beautiful day at Lyttelton with a nice wind - perfect conditions.

Just under eight minutes to the start of Race One.

NZ driver Peter Burling is downplaying the Aussie rivalry, despite their complaints that the Kiwis snuck out on the course for a quick reconnaissance.

The defending champions are there purely for nuisance value today, as they have clinched their spot in the Grand Final and can only influence who their opponents will be.


Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of NZ Sail Grand Prix at Christchurch's Lyttelton Harbour.

After COVID-19 delays, New Zealand finally gets to host a leg of the sailing world series on home waters and this particular regatta - the penultimate event on the 2022/23 scheduled - couldn't come at a better time for the home team.

With two-time defending champions Australia well clear at the top of the standings and assured of a spot in the decider at San Francisco in May, the Kiwis currently occupy second spot, with the field snapping at their heels.

Only three teams will contest the final, so Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will be keen to take advantage of their local knowledge to clinch one of those spots.

Like Burling and Tuke, many of the other leading sailors are well know to NZ fans through their involvement in America's Cup, so established rivalries will come to the fore, especially old mates Jimmy Spithill and Sir Ben Ainslie.

Join us at 3pm for all the onwater action.

TAB Odds: NZ $3, Australia $3.40, France $5.50, Great Britain $7, Denmark $13, USA $15, Canada $17, Spain $26, Switzerland $31

Overall standings: 1-Australia 76 points, 2-NZ 64, 3-France 63, 4-Great Britain 61, 5-Denmark 57, 6-USA 53, 7-Canada 49, 8-Spain 27, 9-Switzerland 25


Live updates: NZ Sail Grand Prix at Lyttelton Harbour, Christchurch, Day One

'Redheaded stepchild': Spithill's colourful relationship with Kiwis continues at SailGP

Alex Powell

Jimmy Spithill is the man Kiwi sailing fans have long loved to hate and he's relishing that tag once again, as SailGP makes its New Zealand debut at Lyttelton this weekend.

Spithill was at the helm as the man responsible for one of the greatest heartbreaks in New Zealand sporting history.

In 2013, at 8-1 down in the America's Cup final at San Francisco, Spithill masterminded a fairytale recovery effort, as Oracle Team USA came back to stun Team NZ to snatch the 'Auld Mug'.

Team NZ got their own back in Bermuda four years later, but Spithill's status as the archetypal sporting villain will forever endure - not that he minds.

As SailGP makes its belated debut in New Zealand, the Aussie is back in the heart of enemy territory.

Despite his Australian roots, Spithill is the chief executive and driver of Team USA, and will compete on Kiwi waters once again at a vital time in the campaign.

Back in Aotearoa, he's been reminded how he's viewed by Kiwis. 

"A guy came up to me on the street the other day and said, 'You're basically the redheaded stepchild of New Zealand'," Spithill joked. "I took it as a compliment, obviously.

"I've got a lot of friends, fans and feedback here, for sure. It's a great place.

"I've never been to Christchurch, [it's my] first time down here, it's an amazing city… the forecast looks unreal. I'm pretty pumped to get out there."

Jimmy Spithill celebrates SailGP victory in France
Jimmy Spithill celebrates SailGP victory in France. Photo credit: Photosport

With only one regular leg left before the Grand Final in May, Spithill's Team USA sit sixth in SailGP's standings, 24 points off first-placed Australia and nine points adrift of the top three.

A good performance this weekend will boost USA's chances of reaching the finale, needing a top three finish to qualify, but even with it all to do over the coming days, Spithill knows his side have what it takes.

"There's a lot of points still available, just in the amount of racing that's there," he added. "With the penalty system, any time there's damage or a collision, there's also a lot of points that can be lost - quickly.

"From my point of view, it's possible, we have to believe that, but at the end of the day, if you think too far ahead to the finish-line, it's a waste of energy. You've really got to focus on one race at a time, that's the situation we're in.

"We're one of a few teams that have shown we can actually win this season. We've had a few good results, we've had some bad ones too.

"San Francisco is a big one for us. We'd love to get ready for that one and come out firing.

"Who knows, we'll see what can happen. Things can change really quick in SailGP."