• First time ever SailGP league will race in New Zealand
  • Racing takes place in Whakaraupō, Lyttleton Harbour, this weekend (March 18-19)
  • Swiss SailGP Team will race with a new line-up onboard F50 Eiger

Following events in Singapore and Sydney early this year, Switzerland SailGP Team’s tour of APAC continues, with the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix taking place this weekend, March 18-19, in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. It's the first time ever the global league will race in New Zealand.

The Swiss will race in Christchurch with a new line-up onboard F50 Eiger. Experienced multihull specialist, Olympic medallist and multiple world champion, Glenn Ashby, will race in the wing trimmer role. Ashby was supporting the team in Sydney last month in a sailing advisor / coaching role and has previously sailed with Swiss driver, Sébastien Schneiter.

Sébastien Schneiter has already hit the kiwi waters; first competing at the National Moth Championship events and over the past few days training in the foiling dinghy on the SailGP racecourse.

Schneiter said: “I’ve already hit the racecourse for some training in the Moth and it’s pretty spectacular out there! We’ve had a bit of everything condition wise, from no wind to full breeze with waves.

Season 3 // Switzerland SailGP Team // Swiss prepare for NZL event

“We will be racing close to the fans and the course is surrounded by mountains, which is quite familiar to us, almost feels like we’re in a Swiss lake in a way, with a few more waves and salty water! Sailing is a big sport here in New Zealand, there will be a great crowd out there watching at the weekend.”

On the team’s takeaways from the racing in Sydney last month, Schneiter said: “Sydney was probably some of the most exciting racing we’ve had in SailGP so far, it was just action packed. We had a serious amount of takeaways from the event, the key for us now will be to focus on one or two very simple things to execute well [onboard] and this will already make a big difference.

“Our two main goals will be to settle the boat down and be more in control, as well as working on our first downwind execution to be in a better position at first leeward gate. Of course, the starts keep being a big priority of ours, but we’re on the good path there and looking to keep improving a couple of details on those.”

Season 3 // Switzerland SailGP Team // Swiss F50 underway

Nathan Outteridge’s main focus in New Zealand will be as sailing advisor - working closely with coach Jacopo Plazzi - and Laurane Mettraux will step back into the role of strategist. For Kiwi athlete and flight controller, Jason Saunders, it will be a home event. The same for experienced grinder, Guy Endean, who also joins the line-up for Christchurch, rotating in the G1 position with Nils Theuninck. Swiss athlete Jeremy Bachelin will continue to help power the boat in G2.

Swiss CEO Tanguy Cariou said: “It’s an important time for the team and the goal at this stage of the season is to keep moving forward as best as we can and to use these final two events of Season 3 to prepare as much as possible for next season.

“Bringing Glenn [Ashby] onboard is the right strategy for us at this stage, he is really experienced and in a position to help us develop the crew and to get the best results possible.

“We will tap into his - and Nathan’s - knowledge and expertise and work towards being in a strong position to be fully competitive from the start of Season 4 in June 2023.”

It will be another early start for fans in Switzerland looking to watch the action live in Christchurch on YouTube, racing takes place from 15:00 – 16:30 NZDT/ 03:00 – 04:30 CET. Blue Sport will also broadcast the New Zealand SailGP throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. More details on how to watch HERE.