SYDNEY – February 14, 2019 – Official practice racing got underway today for the Sydney SailGP inaugural event. We saw the six Nation-v-Nation teams with their supercharged foiling 50 race machines hit the start line together at one time for the first time ever, and the action did not disappoint.
The day started with the Sydney SailGP event press conference – lining up SailGP CEO, Russell Coutts, with the six team skippers, including our own British Skipper, Olympian Dylan Fletcher. There was much talk of the sailors’ expectations and who were the favored team but collectively all of the helmsmen were clearly keen to get out on the water and get into the foiling action.
“For me this journey so far has been like diving full immersion in at the deep end”, commented Fletcher, “coming from 49er sailing, then into F50 simulator training in the UK, followed by a few days of training in New Zealand and then into the real action here in Sydney, it’s certainly been the steepest learning curve I have ever known. The team is looking forward to racing and once we hit the start line, there will be no holding back.”
Practice racing got underway as scheduled at 1210, in tricky conditions with wind speeds of between 3-9 knots during the practice session. Three practice races were completed followed by a rehearsal match race to end the day giving the six teams vital ‘race rehearsal time’ on the water ahead of the serious battle that starts tomorrow.
After racing, we caught up with Dylan to hear how he felt about getting some ‘race time’ under the team’s belt here in Sydney Harbour, “It was pretty stressful this morning as it’s the first time all the teams lined up together, the first time we had the race software live, so it was tough going at first when the wind was light but once the boats got foiling, you could already see how close the racing is going to be. Four races with four winners and constant lead changes so already living up to the hype – bring on the real racing tomorrow.”
Racing gets underway tomorrow, Friday 15 February at 1600 hrs local Sydney time. For how to watch in the UK, click here.