Next month, SailGP will bring the world’s most high-tech racing championship to the UK for the first time as a feature event of the renowned regatta Cowes Week, introducing the ‘home of yachting’ to sailing redefined. The six F50s will do battle on the Solent over the weekend of August 10/11, in the penultimate event of SailGP Season 1.
This will be SailGP’s European debut; the championship hosted its most recent event in New York City in late June, where two days of intense and tricky racing put the Japan SailGP Team in the overall lead. The victory was especially sweet for helmsman Nathan Outteridge and crew; after being beaten by the Australia SailGP Team in both Sydney and New York, they triumphed in front of cheering crowds lining the Manhattan shoreline.
After the British team suffered the first capsize of the season in New York, it will be keen to push for the podium on home waters. Helmed by Dylan Fletcher, the team has put forth an impressive effort and is currently ranked third on the leaderboard, although only one point separates them from the U.S. team.
“Having home team support will be a fantastic asset. It just makes us take even more pride in our performance and that reflects in every team member and how they do their role,” said Chris Draper, CEO and wing trimmer of the British team. “These days everyone is so good at getting their heads around venues with modern technology that I am not sure how much local knowledge will play a part. I think it will come down to who gets the best starts and interprets the conditions on that day the best.”
With a long history of hosting sailing events, Cowes on the Isle of Wight will be an incredible venue to showcase the speed and excitement of the F50s. Known for challenging tides and a variety of wind conditions, the event will take tactical prowess to win.
“It would be great to have sea breeze conditions, with the tide for the event and the shoreline orientation, it would just make the racing even more fun and mean everything would be right there on the shore line for the spectators,” said Draper.
Cowes will feature on-shore and on-water viewing experiences that will give spectators an up-close and personal look at the F50 racing machines.
Fans will have the opportunity to get a front-row seat to the action starting on Friday 9, when the race village opens at 10:00 am. From 10-12:00 am there will be viewing and commentary of the King’s Cup regatta, a major sailing event hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in support of their charitable causes taking place in a fleet of 40 foot monohulls – Fast 40s.
Following this will be the official opening of the SailGP Race Village and the first opportunity to see all six of the F50’s, adorned in national livery, as they line up on the presentation moorings just off the race village. The official practice racing takes place on Friday from 3-4:30pm, with full commentary, and live action on the jumbo screens.
The Cowes SailGP Race Village will be the best place for fans to experience the racing excitement onshore. Located between Cowes Green and Egypt Point, a short walk along the seafront from Cowes High Street, this free-to-the-public area will be the hub for all activity over the race period. There will be big screens showing live race coverage and commentary, concessions, the official merchandise shop, the awards ceremony, and other athlete appearances and activities.
An array of travel options are available to reach the Cowes SailGP Race Village. There are both road and rail direct routes to Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington, where the Isle of Wight bound ferries and catamarans reside. More information can be found here.
On the first official race day, Saturday August 10, spectators will be able to access the race village starting at 11:30 am. At 1:00 pm all six F50s will be on the presentation moorings in front of the race village allowing fans to get the perfect photo moment, followed by a fly-by from the teams, before they head off to the race course to make their final preparations.
At 3:10 pm BST racing will begin and fans have a number of choices on how to watch. With racing taking place just off the shore, fans will be able to line the seafront and the foreshore at the SailGP Race Village and cheer on the home team. To secure an unrivaled view of the racing on-shore, the SailGP Grandstand ticketed experience is the best place to watch the racing. Live commentary, big screens, fast track bar service and a discount on the Great Britain SailGP Team fan collection, will ensure a memorable day out.
For spectators wanting to witness the action afloat and feel the spray from the F50s, there is the Cruise Premier ticket, in partnership with Red Funnel. From a privileged viewing position right on the edge of the racecourse you can watch the action unfold from the sun deck of the Red Jet ferry. Expert onboard commentators will guide you through the racing and you will enjoy all-inclusive premium hospitality, including a buffet and bar – the perfect SailGP spectator experience.
There is also the option of watching the thrilling racing from the comfort of your own boat. Through the complimentary SailGP Boater Program, boat owners that have signed up will receive important race management information to help put them in the best place to watch the racing, in addition to a commemorative flag.
Sunday’s racing will bring the action with two fleet races and a showdown between the two top ranked teams, in the concluding match race to decide the Cowes SailGP event winner. Following the racing, spectators can look forward to seeing the winning team on stage for the high-energy prizegiving ceremony, followed by entertainment in the race village.
Live racing in the UK will be shown on BT Sport. Cowes Radio will also have live commentary on 87.9fm and fans can download the SailGP APP, available on iOS and Android, for a unique insight into the racing including live data and unique onboard camera angles. For specifics on viewing in your area click here.