Switzerland SailGP Team is gearing up for the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix this weekend, the first event with its new driver Nathan Outteridge behind the F50 wheel. Earlier this week Sebastien Schneiter announced he was stepping back for the remainder of Season 4 to focus on his Paris 2024 Olympic campaign. Olympic gold and silver medalist, Outteridge has stepped in to replace him.

Racing takes place over two days at Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour, 23/24 March, from 15:00 NZDT (03:00 CET) and five fleet races are scheduled followed by an ultimate three-boat showdown on Sunday afternoon.

Season 4 // Switzerland underway on practice day in Christchurch

The New Zealand SailGP marks the 9th event on Season 4’s 13-event calendar and is the second time the Swiss team has raced in the Kiwi venue. Fans around the world can watch the racing live on SailGP’s You Tube, those back home in Switzerland can watch delayed throughout both race days on Blue 009 Zoom D / Blue 010 Zoom F. How to watch worldwide HERE.

Completing the Swiss line-up for New Zealand alongside driver Outteridge, is fellow double Olympic medallist, Will Ryan (wing trimmer) and Nicolas Rolaz (flight controller). For Ryan and Rolaz it will be their first-time racing in their respective positions in the kiwi venue. Laurane Mettraux races at the back behind Outteridge in the P6 strategist role and grinders, Eliot Merceron, Julien Rolaz and Jérémy Bachelin, power the boat from the front.

Season 4 // Full Swiss crew in Christchurch

Outteridge said: “It’s going to be a really exciting weekend of racing here in Lyttelton Harbour! It’s quite a change condition wise from Sydney last month. It’s going to be a challenging venue; we are going to have north-east conditions and racing will be super close to the shore. We’re expecting around 22,000 spectators here watching over the weekend, it’s the biggest ticketed event in sailing which is pretty impressive.

“For me it’s my first time driving the Swiss boat and racing with the crew in this position. I’ve been supporting Swiss SailGP Team over the last 18 months, so it’s a team I know well and I’ve seen things from onboard, the coaching booth and in a sailing advisor role. So now it’s great to be in the driver position.

“It's also pretty exciting for me to be sailing alongside Will [Ryan]. We’ve grown up sailing against each other and this will be the first time we get to race side-by-side on the same boat. Will is a fantastic sailor, we have a lot of respect for each other and it’s good to finally get the chance to race with him.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there this weekend and I hope I can do the team proud.”

After Christchurch, SailGP will head to Bermuda for the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix on May 4-5.