The Waka Racing Team, which Tax Management NZ (TMNZ) helped establish by sponsoring it for the first five years, collected the sport’s largest prize purse in Sweden on Sunday after being crowned world champions.
Skipper Phil Robertson and his teammates claimed the overall World Match Racing Tour title, coming from behind to beat Taylor Canfield’s US One 2-1 in an epic final duel contested in high winds in Mastrand.
They took home a world champion’s bonus of US$1 million – the largest prize money awarded in sailing – plus an additional US$33,000 for winning the Sweden leg.
Robertson’s crew comprised fellow Kiwis Stu Dodson, Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski.
“This is a fantastic effort from Phil and his team and is the culmination of many years of hard work,” says TMNZ founder director Ian Kuperus.
“They demonstrated superb skill on the water this season and thoroughly deserve their success.”
Robertson found himself 1-0 down after being penalised for crashing into Canfield at the left turn mark when attempting to sneak inside of him during race one.
However, he levelled the scores in the next race after finding his way past Canfield at the top of the final upwind leg.
The third race into the wind was tight until Canfield hit Robertson at the top of the course and was penalised. Robertson took advantage to annex the title.
Earlier on, he defeated Matt Jerwood of Australia’s Redline Racing 3-0 in their semi-final.
The 2016 World Matching Racing Tour kicked off in Fremantle in Perth in March. Series legs were also held in Long Beach, California, Copenhagen and Newport, Rhode Island.
Robertson finished ninth in Fremantle and Copenhagen, fifth at Long Beach and second in Newport.