Revolutionizing the sport of sailing
Published on November 23rd, 2018
SailGP is the all-new, hi-tech sailing series spearheaded by billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts, the most successful helmsman in America’s Cup history. Ahead of the inaugural season in 2019, Coutts explains how this startup property plans to revolutionize the sport of sailing.
“I think the advantage with SailGP is we’re a very broadcast-orientated product – with short races, exciting races, where we can create great short-form content. And I think that fits with the modern view on how sports are consumed. That’s not traditional sailing, frankly. There’s not another model out there that fits within that space.”
Coutts knows what it means to push the envelope in sailing. A five-time America’s Cup winner – including three times as skipper and twice as team chief executive – the New Zealander is the most successful helmsman in the competition’s 167-year history, not to mention an Olympic champion, a 12-time world champion, and two-time Sailor of the Year.
Having served as chief executive of the America’s Cup Event Authority in 2017, Coutts’ latest project sees him spearheading the formation of SailGP, a new international sailing league featuring cutting-edge technology, ultra-fast boats, and a brand of racing designed to increase the sport’s mainstream popularity.
“The concept is to provide a consistent year-round global sports platform for fans to engage with,” says Coutts, who serves as SailGP’s chief executive. “That’s why we really are different to any other sailing property. I think we need to be to make this work as a fully fledged, professional sport.”
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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.
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.