- First ever Sail Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi takes place this weekend(13/14 January)
- Switzerland SailGP Team looking to continue its momentum from Dubai last month
- Changes across the SailGP fleet for the first event of the year; new drivers for GBR and Denmark
- 2024 set to be a big year for Swiss driver Sebastien Schneiter, with Paris 2024 Olympic Games this summer
It’s only 12 days into the new year and Switzerland SailGP Team is already back onboard F50 Eiger and gearing up for the first event of the new year; the first ever Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council (13/14 January).
Racing takes place this weekend, 11:00 – 12:30 CET / 14:00 – 15:30 GST daily, and fans in Switzerland can watch the action live on Blue Sport or via SailGP’s YouTube Channel. How to watch around the world HERE.
The Swiss left 2023 on a high, pleased with its progress and performance at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas last month, where it also secured its highest position of the season so far. The goal heading into this weekend is to continue powering up and pushing for further improvement on the scoreboard.
The UAE capital marks the 7th stop of Season 4 and it looks set to be another light wind, flat-water event, that makes it testing for the F50 and crews. The team will race with another strong Swiss line-up onboard, and its second time racing with new flight controller, Nicolas Rolaz. Geneva’s Sebastien Schneiter leads the crew on the water. Check out the full crew list below.
Across the SailGP fleet there are some changes for the first event of 2024; last week Sir Ben Ainslie announced he was stepping down as driver of Emirates GBR, with double Olympic gold medallist, Giles Scott, stepping in to replace him. ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team will also have a new face on the wheel, Swiss SailGP Team sailing advisor, Nathan Outteridge, is on loan to the Danes to replace driver Nicolai Sehested who misses the event. Outteridge has been supporting the Swiss on and off the water since Season 3.
Driver Sebastien Schneiter said: “It’s great to start the new year with a new venue and some new faces in the fleet!
“We were happy with how we wrapped up 2023. We made some good progress last month in Dubai and there’s a lot of good energy in the team so the aim is to continue this momentum and keep pushing for even more improvements here in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s great to have some new drivers in the fleet to line up against and help to push us even more! It will be fun to race against Nathan [Outteridge] and the Danish team. He’s one of the top sailors in the world and has been a great support to our team, helping to get us to where we are now. Giles [Scott] is also super talented, so we’re looking forward to racing against him for the first time too.”
2024 is a big year for Schneiter with the 49er World Championships in Lanzarote (4-10 March), a key event in the lead up to Paris 2024 this summer - his third consecutive Olympic Games. “It’s not in any way a slow start to 2024, after Abu Dhabi I head straight to Lanzarote to continue training in the 49er [with crew Arno de Planta] as we have the Worlds coming up in March. Then we continue training and racing right up until the Games this summer. SailGP is a unique opportunity and it's great to have the experience of racing both the F50 and 49er, its really complimentary.” Fellow Swiss SailGP Teammate, Maud Jayet, is also campaigning for Paris 2024 in the Laser Radial class. She finished 4th at the ILCA-6 World Championships in Argentina this week.
The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council takes place 13-14 January, with five fleet races scheduled across the two days, followed by a three-team winner takes all showdown on Sunday afternoon.
Switzerland SailGP Team crew line up:
Sébastien Schneiter - Driver
Will Ryan - Wing trimmer
Nicolas Rolaz - Flight controller
Laurane Mettraux – Strategist
Julien Rolaz - Grinder (G1)
Eliot Merceron - Grinder (G1)
Jérémy Bachelin – Grinder (G2)
François Morvan - Coach