Any tension between New Zealand and Great Britain at SailGP appears to have been left in Spain, with no apparent lingering animosity between helmsmen Peter Burling and Sir Ben Ainslie.   

In October, a tactical blunder from New Zealand in the final fleet race saw the Kiwis on a collision course with Great Britain.   

Great Britain refused to divert from their course and New Zealand were penalised as a result. While any accident was avoided by the two boats, the Kiwis missed out on the podium race and had to settle for fourth place.   

The incident led to a heated exchange between Sir Ben and New Zealand's Blair Tuke, with the latter saying "you're not even in our race". 

"Why do you think you're so special?" Sir Ben responded. "Just because you've won two America's Cups, so what?

"So arrogant, you're so friggin' arrogant."   

Eight weeks later, the hatchet appears to have been well and truly buried.   

Speaking before the season resumes at Dubai, both helmsmen insist any friction between the two teams is water under the bridge.    

"The great thing about Cadiz was you saw just how much it means to us as sailors," said Sir Ben. "It gave everyone a bit of a laugh, [it gave] some of our peers in the other teams and their media teams a good opportunity to have a crack at us.   

"I think it's great. It shows how much, emotionally, we're invested in it.   

"Neither us nor Team New Zealand had a particularly good event in Cadiz. We were on the back foot, we were frustrated.   

"We ended up in a situation where we managed to inadvertently take each other out.   

"It certainly wasn't a goal, because we were both struggling. We ended up getting a bit frustrated, but that's sport.   

"That shows just how much it means to us.    

"You get back to shore, put your hand up [and say], 'Sorry, I probably got a bit over the top there' and move on.   

"All of these teams, at some point or another, are going to come to blows, have a set-to. That's just sport, it's inevitable, that's why we compete."   

Burling accepts his own fault and admits he enjoys being able to call Sir Ben and Great Britain rivals.    

"What happens on the playingfield stays out there," said Burling. "We enjoy that rivalry we have with the British, we've had it for a long time through many other sporting events.   

"Obviously, emotions flared up there a little bit. That was us having a good battle with the Americans for the last spot in the final.   

"A mistake on our behalf led to us getting fourth in the event, but it was fun racing. 

"Like Ben said, it shows how much we care about it. I'm looking forward to another good battle this weekend."  

Entering the Dubai leg of SailGP, just two points separate Great Britian in fifth and New Zealand in sixth.    

Tom Slingsby's Australia hold the outright lead, with a seven-point buffer over Denmark in second place.  

Tune into Three or ThreeNow for live, free-to-air coverage of all 12 SailGP events this season.

2023-12-08T21:28:42Z dg43tfdfdgfd