SailGP: Brits eager to step up at home
Published on August 6th, 2019
The inaugural SailGP series will be making its European debut when six national teams take to the water on August 10 and 11 in Cowes, England.
After competing around the world in Sydney, San Francisco, and New York, the new global sports league has arrived on the Isle of Wight for the penultimate event of the 2019 season which sees the winning team walk away with a $1 million prize.
With new technical upgrades onboard the one-design flying boats, the identical F50 catamarans are hitting the highest speeds yet seen this season on the Solent, with Great Britain SailGP Team as the first squad to have exceeded the 50-knot barrier while in training.
Currently sitting in third place overall, the Brits will be seeking redemption after a dramatic capsize in New York and hungry to win races in front of home crowds. Great Britain will have tough competition from overall season leader Japan, helmed by Olympic champion Nathan Outteridge, and his long-time rival Tom Slingsby of the Australia SailGP Team.
Joining Fletcher on the British team are two fellow Olympians, CEO and wing trimmer Chris Draper, and flight controller Stuart Bithell. Completing the team is Olympic rowing gold medallist Matt Gotrel, Richard Mason and Neil Hunter.
“Cowes is an iconic sailing venue and many great events have been contested off the Isle of Wight,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “We know Australia and Japan are the teams to beat, but I expect Great Britain to be firing here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are winning races and even contending for the final match race.”
Season Leaderboard (after three events)
1. Japan, 2-2-1, 140 pts
2. Australia, 1-1-2, 139 pts
3. Great Britain, 3-3-6, 106 pts
4. United States, 6-4-3, 105 pts
5. China, 4-6-4, 93 pts
5. France, 4-5-6, 93 pts
Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and San Francisco, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric, inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States battle it out in identical wing-powered, foiling F50 catamarans, engineered to exceed 50 knots.
Sydney, Australia (February 15-16)
San Francisco, USA (May 4-5)
New York, USA (June 21-22)
Cowes, UK (August 10-11)
Marseille, France (September 20-22)
Source: SailGP, Scuttlebutt