All signals go for SailGP 2.0
Published on February 27th, 2020
Following the victory by Tom Slingsby’s Australia SailGP Team to claim the inaugural SailGP title in September, the circuit returns in 2020 with two new national teams and the most decorated Olympic sailor to begin the 2020 season in Australia at Sydney SailGP on February 28-29.
All seven national teams spent the past two weeks training on Sydney Harbor, with Australia, France, Great Britain, Japan, and United States teams reacclimated themselves to the F50 catamarans while new entrants Denmark and Spain seek to quickly adapt to the high performance foilers.
Slingbsy, who dominated the circuit in 2019, was quick to shoot down the notion that the 2020 event is his to lose.
“Everyone’s talking down their chances and saying we’re the favorites, but honestly it’s anyone’s game,” observed Slingsby. “With a year under our belts, I believe we will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible on the F50s and there’s no better place to start Season 2 than on Sydney Harbour.”
Following a fourth-place finish in Season 1, the British team has been revamped with the addition of Ben Ainslie – the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time – and two members of the runner-up Japan team from last season, Iain Jensen and Luke Parkinson.
Ainslie recognizes that despite his long list of accomplishments, he is the least experienced member of his crew when it comes to operating the F50 but has expressed optimism ahead of his debut.
“Being tested at this level and in these boats, we’re all going to be better sailors for it,” noted Ainslie. “The Australians are the favorites after winning Season 1, but I think we can definitely beat them if we sail well and our team will be out there giving them a good fight.”
The racecourse is situated in the eastern section of Sydney Harbour with Shark Island – where spectators will gather – at the epicenter. The event is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. local time (AEDT) on February 28 and will feature three fleet races between all seven teams. The action resumes at 4:30 p.m. local time on February 29 with two fleet races, followed by a final match race between the top two point leaders.
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
Spain, Jordi Xammar/ Phil Robertson*
United States, Rome Kirby
* Xammar will helm with Season 1 skipper Phil Robertson (NZL) serving in an interim capacity. Details.
Sydney, AUS (February 28-29)
San Francisco, USA (May 2-3)
New York, USA (June 12-13)
Cowes, GBR (August 14-15)
Copenhagen, DEN (September 11-12)
** A sixth event may be added to the calendar at a later date.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans with the season culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.
Season 1 – 2019 Schedule
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)
SailGP Season 1 Overall Leaderboard
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby, 229
2. Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 223
3. China, Phil Robertson, 171
4. Great Britain, Dylan Fletcher, 169
5. France, Billy Besson, 164
6. United States, Rome Kirby, 163
Note: Total points based on SailGP scoring.