This Friday and Saturday six SailGP teams will take to the Hudson River for the first-ever New York SailGP title.
New York City is famous for many things; incredible arts and culture, a buzzy dining scene, the bright lights of Times Square, the iconic Statue of Liberty and the towering Empire State Building. This weekend New Yorkers will be experiencing something brand new, as competitors take to the Hudson River in their supercharged F50s to do battle in the inaugural New York SailGP.
The showdown begins at 5pm on both Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22. Three fleet races, with all boats racing at the same time, will take place on Friday and two on Saturday, leading up to the final match race that will determine the New York City SailGP winner.
The Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby has taken the title at both the Sydney and San Francisco SailGP events, and the other five national teams will be eager to dethrone them.
Rome Kirby and his group of young American talent will be pushing hard to claim the New York title on their home turf. A fierce rivalry has formed between the top four teams, who are all in close contention for the podium, but hometown pride is also on the line for the United States SailGP Team.
Kirby is staying cool despite the pressure to perform for a hometown crowd. Between events, the young American team has been logging time in the simulator and hitting the books doing a deep dive into the data from San Francisco. Kirby grew up just up the coast in Newport, Rhode Island and is sure to have a tribe of fans making the trip to the city.
“We are planning to come out swinging here in New York,” said Kirby. “In San Francisco we made massive improvements and were nipping at the heels of the leaders, leading in many of the races. We can’t wait to get out on the Hudson River and put on a great show for our fans. It’s anyone’s race out there and we plan to give it our all.”
The weekend is sure to bring plenty of high-speed action, with steady winds 12-15 knots out of the northwest and gusts into the high teens predicted for Friday. Clear skies and sun with steady summer breeze will prevail on Saturday, making for excellent spectating on the West side waterfront. Sustained winds mean more controlled time spent on foils and higher speeds - the F50s are capable of reaching speeds exceeding more than three times the wind speed.
Along the shoreline of the bustling Financial District in downtown Manhattan, spectators will be able to watch the high-flying boats and enjoy exclusive fan experiences Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. For those looking to get even closer to the action, tickets are going fast for on-water experiences that put fans as close to the racing as possible short of actually sailing the boat themselves.
With two events now in the books and the teams spending more and more time in the high-tech simulator in London between events, the racing is closer than ever and the podium could be anyone’s game.
The defending Australian team is ready to show off for the crowd lining the waterfront at Battery Park City. “I’m most excited to see the crowds we get here, the racing will be fairly close to the shoreline, and you can hear the cheering,” said helmsman Tom Slingsby.
The Japan SailGP Team will be gunning for Australia after coming agonizingly close in both events thus far, while Great Britain, currently sitting in third, will want to take both of the top teams out.
“New York is a special place to race these boats, it's not a venue that is looked at for sailing every day, it's out of the ordinary. We are racing right next to the big buildings in the financial district which means changeable conditions, and we’ve got some different courses to deal with, so it takes some thinking outside the box,” said Japan wing trimmer Luke Parkinson.
The high-adrenaline competition and world-class athletes are sure to capture the hearts of New Yorkers and be the real shining stars of the weekend. All six teams are expected to be hitting the Hudson River today gearing up for the weekend’s racing. Official competition will begin at 5:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. With the New York SailGP match race taking place on Saturday, followed by the awards ceremony.
The racing will be shown in over 90 countries via SailGP’s broadcast partners, in addition to the SailGP APP for iOS and Android, and digital platforms. For specifics on viewing in your area click here.