Rosters filling for 2019 SailGP Season

Published on November 13th, 2018

The countdown continues for the launch of the well-funded SailGP global racing league that will have five events in 2019 and a winner-take-all $1 million match race.

SailGP is the brainchild of American billionaire-businessman Larry Ellison and prominent New Zealand yachtsman Sir Russell Coutts, a multiple world champion, Olympic gold medallist and five times America’s Cup winner.

While these two sought to reimagine the America’s Cup to bolster its commercial foundation, the historic event was too burdened with rules to fully achieve this objective. So SailGP is their new vision that seeks to attract an international broadcast audience.

Teams from the United States, Australia, Great Britain, France, Japan and China will compete in one design catamarans called F50s, upgraded to deliver more performance since last used in the 2017 America’s Cup.

Unwilling to embrace strong nationality rules when Ellison and Coutts were the defender of the 2013 and 2017 America’s Cup, SailGP will require 100 percent nationality for established sailing nations while allowing developing teams to start with a 40 percent nationality requirement, which will increase by 20 percent annually.

Here are the team announcements so far:

Full National Teams:
• Great Britain SailGP Team
Dylan Fletcher (Skipper & Helmsman), Chris Draper (CEO & Wing Trimmer), Stuart Bithell (Pilot & Tactician), Richard Mason (Grinder), Matt Gotrel (Grinder)

• United States SailGP Team
Rome Kirby (Skipper), Riley Gibbs (Wing Trimmer), Hans Henken (Flight controller), Mac Agnese (Grinder), Dan Morris (Grinder)

• Australia SailGP Team
Tom Slingsby (Skipper), Kyle Langford (Wing trimmer), Jason Waterhouse (Flight controller), Ky Hurst (Grinder), Sam Newton (Grinder)

• France SailGP Team
Billy Besson (Helmsman), Matthieu Vandame (Wing Trimmer), Marie Riou (Flight Controller),
Devan Le Bihan (Grinder), Olivier Herledant (Grinder), Timothé Lapauw (Grinder)

Developing Teams:
• China SailGP Team
Phil Robertson (Helmsman; NZL), Ed Powys (Wing Trimmer; GBR), James Wierzbowski (Flight Controller; AUS), Liu ‘Black’ Xue (Grinder; CHN), Jinhao ‘Horace’ Chen (Grinder; CHN), Thomas LeBreton (Reserve Wing Trimmer; FRA), Liu ‘Leo’ Ming (Reserve Grinder; CHN)

• Japan SailGP Team
Coming soon.

With advance training occurring in New Zealand, teams from China and the United States had already completed their allotted two weeks each, with the Australians and the Great Britain squad next up. Teams area also traveling to London where a sailing simulator seeks to prepare them to master the new F50 foiling catamarans.

The series begins Feb. 15-16 in Sydney, Australia, followed by regattas in San Francisco on May 4-5; New York on June 21-22; Cowes, England, on Aug. 10-11; and the finale in Marseille, France, on Sept. 20-22.

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