With US$1 million on the line, the final SailGP event of the year was always expected to provide entertainment, but no one could have expected what unfolded off the waters of San Francisco.
On the final day of racing, both fleet races saw big crashes, while the grand final was called off and postponed mid-race due to a whale on the course.
At the end of it all, it was Australia who triumphed, with New Zealand finishing the day with a fleet race win and a heavy collision on their record.
After a chaotic first leg which saw most of the boats splash down at least once, the race was abandoned around the first gate as one of the markers had broken loose.
It was probably the best outcome for the Kiwis, who rounded the mark in seventh place after nailing the start but drifting to the back of the field soon afterwards.
On the restart, the Kiwis got a much better start to sit second in the early going before jumping up a spot on the first manoeuvre and going around the gate first.
There was big action right behind them as the Spanish boat tried to undercut the
Americans around the gate and ended up onboard the American vessel for a few seconds. America, who had been trying to protect the asset in the fleet races with their place in the grand final already confirmed, were reported to have had a hole in their boat, while the Spanish boat took on season-ending damage.
Spain were penalised, but it was little respite as both boats were essentially forced out of the race.
The Kiwis sailed a fairly clean race in the tough conditions, held onto their lead and earned their third race win of the season – giving them hope of a place in the grand final should the US boat be forced out of the weekend.
Team USA withdrew from the fifth and final fleet race in order to assess the damage and give themselves the best chance to line up in the $1 million shoot out.
The final fleet race of the season was contested between six rather than eight – with the US and Spain withdrawing.
The Kiwis needed to finish ahead of Great Britain in order to press their claim for fourth on the overall ladder and first reserve for the grand final – which was ultimately not needed as the US were cleared to race - but were chasing from the outset as Sir Ben Ainslie got the best start of the fleet.
Like in the first race, there was another major collision – this time taking the Kiwis' slim hopes of making the grand final and tossing them into the harbour.
New Zealand, Great Britain and France all looked set to cross the same patch of water in relative time and as Great Britain crossed in front of the other two vessels, the Kiwis had right of way ahead of the French. However, the French made no attempt to change their position, and the Kiwis went right into the side of them.
It saw them lose time on the Great Britain crew, who narrowly avoided the crash, and the race merely became something of a practice run for the Kiwis, finishing the season in fifth overall.
In the final, when the Coastguard confirmed the whale had moved away from the course, Australia did it easy. The first team up on their foils, Tom Slingsby's crew took off to hold about a half-a-leg lead on the Americans and the Japanese.
The fourth leg proved to be another twist on a day full of them, as all three teams found themselves without a breeze and parked on the water. But it was the Australians who got on their foils first and shot away again, regaining their big lead and going on to claim the win.
For the New Zealanders, while things didn't go as well as hoped on the water, they were atop the podium off it as they won SailGP's inaugural Impact League.
As part of SailGP's sustainability goals, the impact league was introduced this season and sees the teams measured on the positive actions they make to reduce their overall carbon footprint and help accelerate inclusivity in sailing. Winning the league, the Kiwis claimed a US$100,000 prize for their charity partner, LiveOcean.