London launch of the SailGP International league to feature six national teams, visiting five iconic, inshore venues starting with Sydney in February 2019
Five-person teams will race identical wingsailed F50s – supercharged catamarans capable of breaking the 50-knot barrier – in five Grand Prix events, with the final event featuring a winner-takes-all, $1 million championship match race.
Created by Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts, in season one, SailGP will visit Sydney February 15-16, San Francisco May 4-5, New York June 21-22, Cowes August 10-11, and Marseille September 20-22, where the crews will compete for the championship trophy and a $1 million prize.
Sanctioned by World Sailing, each grand prix will comprise two competition days with five fleet races, culminating in a final match race between the two leaders.
With a primary goal of growing global viewership and broadening its fanbase, SailGP’s broadcast plans focus on comprehensive live coverage complemented by centrally produced highlight programs, and cutting-edge screen applications and services.
SailGP’s inaugural season will feature teams representing six countries – Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States.
The Great Britain SailGP Team was also introduced to home fans during the London launch on Wednesday.
Skippered by Rio 2016 Olympian and world champion Dylan Fletcher, Britain’s vastly experienced crew includes Olympic bronze medalist Chris Draper as team CEO and wing trimmer, Olympic silver medalist Stuart Bithell as flight controller, and Olympic champion rower Matt Gotrel and Extreme Sailing Series winner Richard Mason as grinders.
No other teams have been announced, but Tom Slingsby is pencilled in for the Aussie team and Rome Kirby for the USA.
The F50 catamaran
The F50 is a development, one-design class. Powered by a 24-meter wingsail and flying above the water on hydrofoils, the F50 marks a huge step forward.
The new upgrades are expected to produce a 15 percent performance gain across most racing conditions compared to the AC50 class of 2017 on which they are based.
– Length overall: 15 meters
– Beam (width): 8.8 meters (including appendages)
– Wing Height: currently 24 meters, a 18m heavy air wing and a 28m light air wing
– Crew: 5, consisting of helmsman, wing-trimmer, flight controller and two grinders
– Crew weight limit: 438 kilograms (average of 87.5 kg per sailor)
Joining SailGP as founding partners are: luxury life-style house Louis Vuitton, Ellison’s Software company Oracle and the car manufacturer Land Rover. Additional details and sponsors will be announced at a future date.
Sir Keith Mills’ Origin Sports Group, is confirmed as the exclusive UK commercial and marketing partner working with the Great Britain SailGP Team and SailGP’s Cowes event.
SailGP has World Sailing Special Event status.