SailGP’s dedicated community, education and outreach initiative, Inspire, makes its debut in Abu Dhabi as part of the first-ever Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council from January 13-14. In association with Mubadala who became the Global Partner of the Inspire Program for Season 4, Abu Dhabi will host the largest Inspire program ever delivered.
The activities in Abu Dhabi fall under the Inspire prorgam’s three pillars - Learning, Careers and Racing - which aim to make a positive lasting impact with young people and communities in the city. SailGP, the world’s most exciting racing on water, founded the Inspire initiative to help diversify the sport for young people, without any race, gender, or socioeconomic barriers. Through its Learning, Careers and Racing programs, the league hopes to leave a legacy within the local communities that host each event. To date 17,368 young people have taken part in the program since its inception – far exceeding the initial 10,000 target set – and the league has increased its ambition to 25,000 by the end of Season 5.
Through SailGP’s Learning program, over 1,000 Abu Dhabi students aged between 9-15, from 26 schools will enjoy a unique experience at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council. The program will feature an engaging tour of the SailGP Technical Site at Mina Zayed and STEM activities teaching the science behind the sport.
The highlights in Abu Dhabi also include SailGP opening its doors to 23 young professionals to take part in a week’s work experience, as part of Inspire Careers. It will also host exclusive taster and coaching clinics for those aged under 21, offering the unique opportunity to experience foiling - where they will sail on boats that effectively fly out of the water and get a taste of the latest and growing trend - wing foiling.
The Inspire Careers program will provide 23 individuals aged 18 and above, with a diverse mix of male and female participants, the opportunity to join SailGP's key departments, spanning boat building, hydraulics, sustainability, media services and shore team roles which are designed to showcase the various career pathways in the sailing industry.
The program has also launched the inaugural SailGP Inspire x Mubadala Internship Exchange Program, offering a unique opportunity for four young professionals. This week-long work experience focuses on STEM-related roles and takes place at the title sponsor races in Abu Dhabi and New York. In Abu Dhabi, the selected candidates will be immersed in various SailGP departments, including Data, Digital and Social, Hospitality, and the Shore Team Australia.
Every single youngster who engages with the Inspire program in Abu Dhabi will be invited to watch the heart-stopping, adrenaline-fueled action of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council on January 13-14.
As a Global Partner of the Inspire Program, Mubadala will also ramp up the excitement in Abu Dhabi by hosting an Inspire x Mubadala women’s day where female employees from Mubadala will get to experience what it’s like to compete in SailGP.
Alongside witnessing the most exciting racing on water, the Inspire program at the SailGP Race Stadium will also include fun and leisure activities for visitors such as, Knot tying station: learn how to tie useful sailing knots, a Grinder experience to see if you can match our grinder records and finally the Pulley system where you can understand weights and resistance. To showcase the evolution of the sport an interactive space will be open to attendees to compare the construction materials, techniques, and overall designs of both the Dhow and the F50 boats. An interactive virtual reality booth will provide visitors with a wind-in-your-face 4D experience of racing an F50 at speeds approaching 100km/h which then can be compared to a similar sailing experience in a traditional Dhow.
Laura Hedley, SailGP Inspire Program Senior Manager, said: “This is the largest SailGP Inspire program ever! We use the science behind these flying boats to inspire a new generation of thinkers, young engineers and leaders. SailGP’s F50 catamaran is a science lab on water, it has the ability to teach youngsters about being energy efficient and we get them thinking about solving real world problems, specifically related to sustainability. When people look at these boats, they think they have engines and it’s incredible to see the students learn about how they are entirely powered by nature. It’s our first time here in Abu Dhabi and it would be wonderful to think we can plant the seed for future sailors and connect many locals to the amazing heritage of sailing here in Abu Dhabi.”
Pippa Kenton-Page MBE OLY, Olympic gold medallist from Beijing 2008 and Inspire Coordinator (UAE), said: “Engaging young people in the sport is something I'm particularly passionate about and the Inspire program is such an amazing part of SailGP and something unique to the championship. SailGP offers this opportunity for young people all around the world to try sailing and be inspired by the amazing boats and athletes involved. I can’t wait to see the young people of Abu Dhabi getting on the water and hopefully introducing them to a lifetime of sailing.”
HE Homaid al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO of Mubadala, said: "Mubadala Investment Company has become the Global Series Partner for SailGP for the next three seasons until the end of 2026. With it comes the pride of bringing the SailGP Inspire program to our home waters for the first time. Inspire is an incredible platform that will allow the youth of Abu Dhabi to learn the ropes, quite literally, try their hand at the sport of foiling, and in the process open doors for those aspiring sailors hoping to wear the competition numbers in an F50 race someday.”
The first ever Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council will take place at Mina Zayed on January 13-14, 2024 with a limited number of tickets on sale at SailGP.com/AbuDhabi.