Emirates GBR race ready in New Zealand for the penultimate event of SailGP Season 3

  • The world’s most exciting racing on water heads to the South Island of New Zealand for the first-time racing on the shores of Lyttelton Harbour in Christchurch, 18-19 March
  • Ben Cornish joins the British squad in New Zealand allowing grinder Matt Gotrel time to recover following his overboard incident last month in Sydney

As Sir Ben Ainslie and his Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team head to the penultimate event of the Season 3 Championship it’s all to play for as the pressure ramps up to secure a spot in the San Francisco Season 3 Grand Final in May.

The team are currently in fourth place following the Sydney Sail Grand Prix last month, sitting only two points behind the French in third and three points from the Kiwi’s in second. With the leader board leaving no room for error, we’ll need to see the team tap into some British brute out on the Lyttelton Harbour waters this weekend to secure a place in the top three.

Emirates GBR will have new muscle on the grinding pedestal in New Zealand, with America’s Cup athlete Ben Cornish (GBR) stepping in for grinder Matt Gotrel (GBR) who is recovering from a fractured sacrum bone following his overboard incident last time out in Sydney.  British Olympic gold winning rower Gotrel, fondly known as Shrek, will miss his first ever SailGP event but is making a good recovery and aims to return for the Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco (May 6/7). Matt’s mainstay on the grinding handles Neil Hunter retains his place in Christchurch alongside trimmer grinder Nick Hutton. The driver, strategist, wing trimmer, and flight controller roles are again filled by Ben Ainslie (GBR), Hannah Mills (GBR), Iain Jensen (AUS) and Luke Parkinson (GBR / AUS) with Hannah Diamond (GBR) completing the line-up as the reserve sailor.

Photo: David Gray for SailGP.

Sir Ben Ainslie Driver & CEO, Emirates GBR said: “We are now at the business end of the season with Christchurch being the penultimate event, but our focus will remain the same, it’s all about solid performances that qualifies the team in the top three for the winner takes all San Francisco final.

Ainslie commented on Gotrel missing the event: “Sydney was full-on racing with plenty of big moments on the racetrack, Shrek certainly took the biggest hit for the team, but he is healing well at home, and we look forward to getting him back on board in San Francisco. We are extremely fortunate as an organisation to be able to draw on a wealth of exceptional sailing talent like Ben Cornish to step in, we are ready to go racing!”