SailGP: Peter Burling gains fresh perspective after becoming a dad

Peter Burling and his wife, Lucinda Nelson, welcomed their first child into the world last month....
Peter Burling and his wife, Lucinda Nelson, welcomed their first child into the world last month. Photo: Getty Images
After taking time to celebrate the miracle of life, Peter Burling returns to SailGP having seen his team perform from a new perspective.

As Burling and his wife, Lucinda Nelson, welcomed their first child around the same time as the SailGP regatta in Sydney last month, Burling watched the racing from back home as Nathan Outteridge stepped in as driver for the event.

The Kiwi team, who now go by the moniker of the Black Foils, sailed well to secure a third-placed finish, though a butchered start in the podium race added a layer of frustration to things. Tom Slingsby led the Australians to their first win over the season, while Nicolai Sehested guided the Danish to second place.

It wasn’t the first time this season Burling has had to watch the racing from the sidelines after the Kiwi team was forced to sit out the event in Italy due to a damaged boat, but it was the first time since their debut season that Burling had to watch his team sail without him.

“It’s definitely a little weird following racing from afar. It was great to be able to keep a lot of dialogue with our coaching staff and keep quite connected to the team,” Burling said.

“It looked like they had it in the bag then got a bit trigger-happy at the end. It would’ve been nice if Nicolai had stayed ahead of Tom, to be honest. We were quite happy with his team taking a long time to get a win on the board this season.”

Burling returns at the helm for the Kiwis in their home event on Lyttelton Harbour this weekend with a refreshed view, looking to go one better than their second-placed finish in 2023.

“It’s been an absolutely awesome time,” Burling said of welcoming his first child. “Lucy and the little one have been going absolutely amazing. It’s a cool part of life, but we’re down here in Lyttelton now and ready to race.”

With more than 22,000 fans expected at Naval Point to take in the action across the weekend, the regatta is set to become the world’s largest ticketed sailing event. Other major regattas like the America’s Cup and Ocean Race are unticketed.

Burling said it was an indication of the appetite for sailing in New Zealand and the Black Foils were looking forward to putting on a show for their fans.

“The amount of support we’ve been getting from home right from the beginning of the SailGP journey has been incredible.

“Kiwis really love getting along to sailing events, watching and supporting, and just getting the fan base grow and grow as the events go on, it’s amazing to have so many passionate Kiwis down here.

“I would be lying if I said everyone in our team wasn’t super excited about racing in front of so many people this weekend.”

How to watch in New Zealand

SailGP Christchurch will be live on Three at 3pm on both Saturday and Sunday, while racing can also be streamed live and on-demand on the ThreeNow app.

Racing is scheduled to run between 3pm-4.30pm on both days, though delays are possible - as was seen during the event last year.

TAB odds to win the event

Australia $2.90 New Zealand $3.25 Denmark $8 All other teams $11+

Crew lists

New Zealand: Peter Burling (driver), Blair Tuke (wing trimmer), Andy Maloney (flight controller), Liv Mackay (strategist), Josh Junior, Louis Sinclair, Marcus Hansen (grinders)

Australia: Tom Slingsby (driver), Kyle Langford (wing trimmer), Jason Waterhouse (flight controller), Nina Curtis (strategist), Kinley Fowler, Sam Newton (grinders), Ed Powys (reserve)

Canada: Phil Robertson (driver), Paul Campbell-James (wing trimmer), Billy Gooderham (flight controller), Annie Haegar (strategist), Tom Ramshaw, Jake Lilley, Jareese Finch (grinders)

Denmark: Nicolai Sehested (driver), Tom Johnson (wing trimmer), Rasmus Kostner (flight controller), Anne-Marie Rindom (strategist), Julius Hallstrom, Hans-Christian Rosendahl, Luke Payne (grinders)

France: Quentin Delapierre (driver), Kevin Peponnet (wing trimmer), Jason Saunders (flight controller), Manon Audinet (strategist), Matthieu Vandame, Timothe Lapauw, Olivier Herledant (grinders)

Germany: Erik Heil (driver), Stuart Bithell (wing trimmer), James Wierzbowski (flight controller), Anna Barth (strategist), Dan Morris, Jonathan Knottnerus-Meyer (grinders)

Great Britain: Giles Scott (driver), Iain Jensen (wing trimmer), Luke Parkinson (flight controller), Hannah Mills (strategist), Nick Hutton, Neil Hunter (grinders), Hannah Diamond (reserve strategist)

Spain: Diego Bontin (driver), Florian Trittel (wing trimmer), Joel Rodriguez (flight controller), Nicole van der Velden (strategist), Stewart Dodson, Bernardo Freitas (grinders), Joan Cardona (grinder/tactician)

Switzerland: Nathan Outteridge (driver), Will Ryan (wing trimmer), Nicolas Rolaz (flight controller), Laurane Mettraux (strategist), Jeremy Bachelin, Julien Rolaz, Elliot Merceron (grinders)

United States: Taylor Canfield (driver), Victor Diaz de Leon (wing trimmer), Leo Takahashi (flight controller), Mac Agnese (flight controller/grinder), Anna Weis (strategist/grinder), Mike Buckley (strategist), Peter Kinney, Ben Bardwell (grinders)

By Christopher Reive