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Angry Canada targets SailGP after Sydney disaster

Angry Canada targets SailGP after Sydney disaster

Angry Canadian driver Phil Robertson has demanded answers from SailGP organizers after hydraulic problems forced his boat to retire on the first day of the Sydney event.

A Canadian F50 catamaran began losing hydraulic function shortly after the start of the first of the fleet's three races in Sydney Harbor on Saturday.

By the time Australia crossed the line first, Canada's entire hydraulic system had failed, leaving the boat tumbling to last place.

“These boats are hydraulically powered, and if you don't have any pumps to push the oil, your boat doesn't run. It's very disappointing,” Robertson said.

Organizers postponed the start of the second race to give Canada a chance to fix the problem on the water, but the boat was put out of service after no solution was found.

Canada watched Australia and Denmark rise to the top of the event leaderboard.

As of 7pm on Saturday, Canada was still unsure of the cause of the problem, and did not know whether it would race on the second and final day on Sunday.

Canadian Phil Robertson (centre)

Canadian Phil Robertson (centre), celebrating his previous SailGP win, remained angry in Sydney. (AP photo)

Robertson has already approached SailGP boss Russell Coates to seek compensation for the failure, but the driver remains pessimistic.

“We've already talked and there's nothing,” Robertson said.

To ensure a level playing field, SailGP prevents teams from modifying their multi-million-dollar boats, and can limit the times they can take to the water.

That left Robertson wondering how SailGP could wash its hands of the hydraulic problem.

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“I'm actually pretty angry,” he said.

“I think the league is really bad, to be honest. I came here, promised a boat to race with.

“Nothing is under our control. We are not allowed to touch the boat, and we are not allowed to fix the boat.

“They promised us a race-ready boat. When you don't get a race-ready boat, it's out of your hands and it pisses you off.

“When it shuts down like that and gets cut off, you have to ask questions, you have to ask questions.

“There probably won't be and that's disappointing.”

Robertson was particularly frustrated given SailGP canceled official training for most of the fleet on Friday as thunderstorms rolled through Sydney.

Only Germany and the USA have been allowed into the water, with the former racing at the Sydney SailGP for the first time, while the latter has undergone crew changes since last year.

“Normally, when we do a training day, you find those mistakes and you work them out before race day,” Robertson said.

“But without any time to sail, it's very frustrating.”

The Sydney SailGP, the eighth of 13 events this season, has serious repercussions for the Canadian team, which is at the bottom of trouble in the general classification.

Before Sydney, Canada was eighth but was just six points behind the third-placed United States.

If Canada finishes last in Sydney, the team will gain just one point in the general classification and will fall further off the pace.

“There has to be some ramifications and maybe something for the team,” Robertson said.

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“At this point, she just sucks it up, takes it on the chin, and moves on.”

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