The Canada SailGP Team was the first private team to join SailGP and has an innovative ownership structure, which includes Limited Partnership (LP) opportunities for individual investors. In less than a year, the team has secured a solid group of LPs who share the team’s vision, including the commitment to developing sailing in Canada.
LPs have the unique opportunity to join the team at events and behind the scenes access to the excitement that is SailGP. One of the team’s founding LPs is Robert Gardias, CEO, Oliver Solutions. Robert’s passion for the team is infectious and his team at Oliver Solutions is now working with the Canada SailGP Team to develop online learning opportunities for the weCANfoil programme which will be a world first.
The team caught up with Robert for a quickfire Q&A just after the Singapore Sail Grand Prix event.
How did you first hear about the team?
"I was invited to attend an event in Bermuda hosted by Canada SailGP Team’s founder Fred Pye. I was impressed with the energy and camaraderie of the team members and the boats blowing past us at high speed.”
What intrigued you to become a Limited Partner?
“Oliver Solutions has reached a point in our business maturity where we can consider giving back in a formal, long-term commitment. I've always been open to opportunities that promote our twin passions of education and technology. But I didn't want Oliver Solutions to be just another investor. I wanted to contribute our expertise to amplify the value of our investment. We achieve this through WeCANFoil, an education initiative that inspires young Canadians to take to the water.”
During the Spain Sail Grand Prix event, the team announced a partnership with Oliver Solutions. What key values does Oliver Solutions share with the team?
“We share a deep appreciation of innovation and expect high performance from our team members. For the Canada SailGP Team, high-performance results are measured in boat lengths at the finish line. For Oliver Solutions, high performance means thousands of people successfully enter new professions.”
How is Oliver Solutions supporting the team, in particular the weCANfoil programme?
“We bring a combination of instructional design and education technology expertise. We run programs that introduce thousands of Canadians to new careers every year. We aim to replicate our success at getting people into new careers by getting young people interested in sailing and in foiling in particular. We will provide a national, online foiling education solution.”
You’ve attended almost all of the Season 3 events, what do you like most about being there with the team?
"It’s the camaraderie, the team’s passion for the sport and the encouragement of the next generation of racers. I also like reconnecting with friends and SailGP's unique social atmosphere. SailGP attracts thought leaders from around the world and from different industries. We have spirited discussions about emerging technologies from cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, and the latest foiling technologies. We’re always looking for opportunities to innovate in our respective industries and, of course, to support the Canada SailGP Team’s ambitious goals.
Why do you think the Canada SailGP Team is important for Canada?
“Participation in the Canada SailGP Team is more than just a point of national pride. It is an opportunity to participate in a global exchange of ideas about cutting-edge technologies and sustainability. It is vital for Canadians to have concrete examples of how innovation and teamwork can create an environmentally sustainable future.
"The Canada SailGP Team also provides outstanding opportunities to re-energize youth participation in sailing, which has declined—at least in traditional sailing—in Canada.”
Will you be joining the team in Sydney or Christchurch?
“I aim to support our team in-person, down under.”