Swiss SailGP Team is ready to race in one of the most iconic sailing venues in the world this weekend, Sydney Harbour. The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix kicks off tomorrow (Saturday 18 February) with six fleet races scheduled across the two days, plus a three-team winner-takes-all final on Sunday afternoon.
It will be an early start for fans in Switzerland to watch the racing. All the action will be streamed live on SailGP’s You Tube channel at 16:00 AEDT - 06:00 CET. Blue Sport will also broadcast the racing throughout the day. More details on how to watch HERE.
Last month, the Swiss scored its best result so far, winning its first race and finishing fourth overall in Singapore. Now Sydney, stage 9 of season 3, looks set to be one of the windiest and most challenging courses for the nine strong fleet.
The team hit the water today for a final practice session ahead of tomorrow’s opener, sailing with the smallest 18m wing configuration. With more breeze forecast over the weekend, the same set up will be used tomorrow. We last saw these wings used in St Tropez back in September, on the fastest day of the season to date.
Driver, Sébastien Schneiter, said, “It’s good to be here in Sydney and racing in front of such an iconic backdrop!
"We had our second day out on the water today, but the first time lining up against all the other boats for practice races. We had some really good conditions out there, it was quite full on! Really fast and action packed racing.
"It was a good day and our manoeuvring is getting better and better but we didn’t get off the start line very well, so that’s going to be a big focus for tomorrow.
'It’s been a while since we have sailed with this [18m] configuration and it was good to be back in this set up. It’s really quick, really light and we got some good speed in today ... but tomorrow is going to be even better!"
The Swiss has additional support this weekend. Earlier in the week it announced its latest recruit, double Olympic medallist, Will Ryan. Also joining for Sydney is top sailor and team mentor, Glenn Ashby. Ryan and Ashby will help strengthen the crew in coaching and sailing advisor roles.
Schneiter continues, “We’ve had Nathan [Outteridge] with us since last summer helping to boost our team’s performance. Now we’ve got additional support in Will Ryan, who has joined the team, and Glenn [Ashby] who is here with us for the weekend as a sailing advisor.
"They are both fantastic sailors and will help to make our team as strong as possible on and off the water."
After Sydney, the league will stay down under heading on to Christchurch for the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix (March 18-19). Season 3’s Grand Final takes place in San Francisco, 6-7 May.