Another victory for Phil Robertson
Rising young Kiwi sailing star Phil Robertson put in a magnificent performance on the last day of the Sunseeker Australia Cup to lift the trophy, defeating British skipper Ian Williams 3 – 0 in the final.
Robertson, who is a graduate of one of the toughest match racing academies in the world, run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, had a roller-coaster ride through this regatta, going through the first day undefeated, before crashing to seventh place at the end of the round robin.
However he and his crew picked themselves up off the mat to win their quarter-final against current World Tour leader Mathieu Richard.
He lost his first semi-final race to Britain’s golden boy of sailing, Ben Ainslie, but came back again to win the next three, and finally outclassed Williams in a display of cool, calm sailing that defied his 23 years.
Stepping ashore with a face splitting grin Robertson said, “it’s great mate, it’s awesome,” as words tumbled from his lips, we loved it, just from the start of the day we haven’t lost a race today.
“We’ve just been in the groove, the boys were all just so relaxed, and just loving it, having a ball out there, and the course was pretty interesting, it was extremely shifty a lot of fun to sail, I think we jagged that last one but we’ll take it.”
All three final races were fought tooth and nail, but in the first two Robertson won by margins of 25 and 23 seconds, in the final confrontation the Kiwi picked up a penalty, but managed to build up sufficient lead to take his turn on the finishing line and grab the win, and the trophy by one second.
Talking about the event in general he said, “this is a build up for the Monsoon Cup really, that’s the reason we’re here, we wanted to work on the small things and it’s all come together, we were pushing it and trying to make it all work, so we’re obviously pretty confident going into next week.”
The petit-final to decide third and fourth places was a repeat of last year’s final, local skipper Torvar Mirsky against Ben Ainslie, but the result was reversed, with the British sailing superstar taking the contest.
1. P. Robertson (NZL)
2. I. Williams (GBR)
3. B. Ainslie (GBR)
4. T. Mirsky (AUS)
5. I. Ainslie (RSA)
6. K. Swinton (AUS)
7. M. Richard (FRA)
8. W. Tiller (NZL)
9. P. Nicholas (AUS)
10. R. Corbett (NZL)