SailGP has come of age
Published on June 9th, 2022
Bill Springer, Forbes.com, talks to Russell Coutts about how the adrenaline-fueled, environmentally conscious SailGP Racing League is coming of age at the next event of this season in Chicago.
When it comes to high-performance sailing, and high-profile high-performance sailing events, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and America’s Cup legend Russell Coutts have pretty much seen it all. Their Oracle Team USA syndicate came back from the brink of losing the America’s Cup to Emirates Team New Zealand (they were down 8 races-to-1) by winning 9 races in a row in historic fashion on San Francisco Bay in 2013.
And their 2017 Oracle Team USA squad was nearly swept when they lost the Cup to Emirates Team New Zealand (7-races-to-1) in Bermuda. But stories like these only scratch the surface of what these two passionate and powerful sailors have brought to the “sport of sailing” since Ellison started forming syndicates headed by Coutts to compete for the America’s Cup in the early 2000’s.
In fact, few have worked harder and invested more to turn the “sport of sailing”, that had been perceived to be a stereotypically slow and boring activity for eccentric billionaires, into a modern sport that has all the excitement, technology, sex appeal and drama (and sponsorship opportunities) of Formula 1 Grand Prix racing, than Ellison and Coutts.
And now that their SailGP racing league has entered its third full season (featuring 10 national teams from around the world racing aboard 50-foot-long, high-performance hydrofoiling sailing catamarans). And since I’ve seen just how intense the racing is, and how fun, exciting and exclusive event hospitality can be as well, I’m going to come right out and say it. SailGP has come of age.
Sure, I might be a bit biased simply because I’m a life-long sailor. But, after following this innovative high-energy league since the beginning, I can also say, you don’t have to be a sailor to be captivated by the athletes, the boats and most of all the crazy, close, quarters high-speed racing SailGP is known for.
That’s exactly what SailGP CEO Russell Coutts has been saying all along. “SailGP is a spectacular, purpose-driven sports and entertainment property,” he said after the season opener in Bermuda. “The racing is fiercely competitive with each team racing with exactly the same equipment, making it a true test of athletic performance. In fact, our engagement studies in the USA, France, Spain and the UK all indicate the racing fan is equally engaged as the sailing fan, with the more general sports fan not far behind.”
One of the things I also love about SailGP is that the whole league is designed to engage with people in meaningful ways that go beyond the racing results that include providing highly-detailed, clean energy plans to both venues and teams with the goal of making SailGP events as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. – Full story