News2019: the year of SailGP

One of 2018's biggest milestones: the first flight of the supercharged F50
One of 2018's biggest milestones: the first flight of the supercharged F50

2019: the year of SailGP

The overall goal was straightforward: to create a format for national teams to go head to head in the world’s fastest fleet of racing sailboats. From the outset, SailGP was an ambitious project. Fast boats and close racing rarely go hand in hand. Achieving both would never be an easy feat.

The answer? To create a fleet of identical racing machines that would be managed in-house, leaving the national teams to focus on the racing, rather than engaging in a technical arms race.

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As the details of the new global championship were revealed in October 2018, it was clear that the national identity of teams struck a chord immediately. So too did the list of iconic venues for the 2019 opening season. Starting with Sydney (AUS) in February the fleet would then head to San Francisco (USA), New York (USA), Cowes (UK) and Marseille (FRA) for the season one finale in September.

2019 season venue map

Six national teams have since been announced on their home soil, drawing significant local interest. And when it came to revealing the sailors, the crew lists read like a who’s who of the modern racing world. From offshore heroes to Olympic champions, from America’s Cup victors to youth world titleholders, the talent pool brims with exciting, highly accomplished sailors.

Australia SailGP team in front of the Sydney Opera House

The home team for the inaugural event in Sydney on 15-16 February has drawn particular attention thanks to the star studded cast that will be carrying the national flag. America’s Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby is skipper of the Australia SailGP Team, and has his former Cup team member Kyle Langford trimming the wing. Ky Hurst and Sam Newton are both also former teammates from the last America’s Cup in Bermuda, and are joined by Olympian and former youth World Champion, Jason Waterhouse.

It’s easy to see why some might find it hard to bet against the home team, yet a more detailed scan down the crew lists of their competitors provides plenty of evidence to the contrary. Every team has substantial foiling catamaran experience, every team has world championship winners and all have what it takes to come out on top.

Cockatoo Island aerial Credit Mark Merton lowres

The Sydney race course area will be in the vicinity of Shark Island with racing taking place from 4pm-6pm on Friday 15 February and 3pm-5pm on Saturday 16th. For those at the venue there will be a number of ways of watching the action from spectator boats to the official viewing area on Shark Island. Team bases will be located at Cockatoo Island with a free public viewing area along with free ticketed base tours. Full information about the Sydney SailGP can be found here.

Get ready for a supercharged 2019.