SailGP: Australian Nathan Outteridge looms as perfect replacement for championship-chasing New Zealand in Sydney

Not many sailors can fill Peter Burling's boots, but New Zealand have a very able deputy in Nathan Outteridge for this weekend's Sydney leg of SailGP.  

With New Zealand hot on the heels of championship leaders Australia, Outteridge will sail under the Kiwi flag, hoping to overtake the six-point gap at the top of the season four standings.  

The Australian will fill in for Burling for the weekend, as he and his wife welcome their first child.  

In Outteridge, the Kiwi crew have the perfect replacement.

Nathan Outteridge has already raced in SailGP with Japan.
Nathan Outteridge has already raced in SailGP with Japan. Photo credit: Getty Images

In SailGP, he already boasts experience sailing with both Japan and Switzerland, as well as winning an Olympic gold medal at London 2012.  

Given the chance to add New Zealand to that list, Outteridge didn't hesitate.  

"It's obviously an exciting opportunity," he told Newshub. "You're always happy to help Pete out, when he has family requirements.  

"[It's] really exciting to be here in Sydney, I'm looking forward to the racing this weekend."  

Outteridge, 38, won't have to work too hard to get acquainted with his new teammates either. As part of Team New Zealand's defence of the America's Cup at Barcelona this year, he is already familiar with the Kiwi crew, even if it comes with verbal barbs from his countrymen.

"The banter's always great," he added. "That's one good thing about our sport and the Australia-New Zealand rivalry.  

"I work with Pete, Blair [Tuke] and the rest of the team at Emirates Team New Zealand. Hopefully it's a smooth transition for me, we spend a lot of time together talking about the other type of sailing we do.

"Hopefully this weekend we can just roll into it and get a good result."  

While wild weather at Sydney has seen Friday's practice session called off, organisers are confident of racing proceeding over the weekend.   

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