There will be a fair bit of head scratching among the New Zealand Sail GP team following the opening round of season three in Bermuda.
The star-studded outfit headed by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke struggled to a sixth-place finish among the nine teams, and once again failed to make the final race featuring the top three teams over the weekend action. New Zealand is yet to feature in a deciding race after debuting in the series last season.
New Zealand did manage one win in Bermuda, in the fourth fleet race to boost their chances of racing in the decider but they could only finish seventh in race five to ultimately miss out.
New Zealand's seventh, third, eighth, first and seventh in the five races highlights the inconsistent performances by a team that should be performing better. They have a largely stable squad and have added Team New Zealand sailing coach Ray Davies to their campaign.
Wing trimmer Tuke couldn't hide his frustration after the regatta.
"I guess sitting here now it was a pretty frustrating weekend on the whole for us as a team," Tuke told NZME. "We came in with a reasonable amount of confidence after sailing well in practice and definitely stepped up the level that we were sailing the boat. But yeah, I guess some tough starts this weekend and a couple of mistakes on the course just let us down."
The initial debrief has identified the start as the major problem area for the team in Bermuda.
"The starts really let us down, we were in the back one or two boats in four of the five starts by mark one," Tuke said. "So it's just not good enough in this fleet. And especially in these conditions where it's 10 to 12 knots, all the boats go relatively the same speed.
"So if you're behind at the start, it makes it really difficult to catch up. Plenty of learnings and we're going to have to be better for the remainder of the season."
But Tuke still believes there were positives to take out of the weekend which was dominated by defending champions Australia, skippered by Tom Slingsby, who took overall honours ahead of Sir Ben Ainslie's British team and new outfit Canada.
"Yes, certainly the Aussies are still sitting there benchmarking the whole league; they're sailing the boat fast and manoeuvring well. They get off the start line really well but when they don't, they fight back. For us we have taken a lot of steps forward with sailing the boat faster than we ever have and manoeuvring with more consistency."
New Zealand's failure to make the top three in Bermuda will grate the Kiwis who watched new team Canada skippered by New Zealand's Phil Robertson make the top three in their first attempt.
"[There's] certainly no lack of determination from our group. I mean, everyone's been pushing really hard over the last few months to keep being better as a unit. And we have taken a lot of strides forward.
"But yeah, for the Canadians, in the first event, were very good. I guess they have got Chris Draper on board as a wing trimmer as well, which is just interim as they get up to speed. So that's a big gain for them as well with Phil and Chris [Draper], they're both very experienced. But we have to be better. We've never made a final yet and it's been a season and one event."
New Zealand will get their chance to make amends when the series moves to Chicago on the 19th and 20th of June.
SailGP season three standings
1 - Australia - 10 points
2 - Great Britain - 9 points
3 - Canada - 8 points
4 - Denmark - 7 points
5 - United States - 6 points
6 - New Zealand - 5 points
7 - Spain - 4 points
8 - France - 3 points
9 - Switzerland - 2 points
*The Japan SailGP Team will sit out the first events of the season due to a series of external factors resulting in only nine F50s being available for the start of Season 3.