Now or never at Spain SailGP
Published on September 22nd, 2022
The nine SailGP teams will have their quickest turnaround of Season 3 as they move from France for Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cádiz on September 24-25. With it also being the mid-point of the 11-event season, the window of opportunity to reach the Grand Final is beginning to close.
While Australia and New Zealand have a point’s advantage in the season standings, the pressure on the remaining teams vying for the third slot for the Grand Final. Unless Canada can regain form, the fight appears to be on for Great Britain, Denmark, France and the USA.
After a slow start to the season, the USA team hopes to get on a roll after their victory in France, but momentum will be hard to maintain going forward as there is seven weeks until the next event after Spain, and nine weeks after that.
It was a year ago when SailGP launched its Women’s Pathway in which female athletes have been onboard all teams in 100 per cent of races around the globe, gaining awareness and experience on land and onboard the F50s. The program hopes to accelerate inclusion, inspire change, and provide opportunities at the elite level of sailing.
“We want to inspire the next generation and show anything is possible,” said Fiona Morgan, SailGP global director of purpose and impact. “We recognize we’ve still got a lot of work to do to make our sport more inclusive, but we’re fully committed to addressing the need to accelerate change.”
Since the Spain Sail Grand Prix in 2021, 25 female athletes have been onboard during racing, building a strong roster of athletes capable of competing at the highest level of sailing.
“The Women’s Pathway brought me back to competitive sailing,” shared Canada SailGP Team athlete Isabella Bertold. “In 2019 when I stopped Olympic sailing, I finished my university degree and never thought that I would be back racing at an elite level.
“There were a few women who had managed to jump into professional sailing, but it did not seem like a credible path forward. When SailGP brought in the Women’s Pathway, not only was there now a path into professional sailing, but the support on the skill development side to start playing catch up.”
While SailGP female athletes have typically raced in the role of strategist in 6-crew configuration and in the role of grinder in 4-crew configuration, over time SailGP expects to see more female athletes racing in other roles onboard the F50 as development progresses.
“We want to see more female athletes onboard every season, and we want to see athletes like Hannah Mills driving the F50 for the Great Britain SailGP Team,” said Morgan. “What a fantastic moment that would be. We’re currently building out a plan to ensure we achieve this, and we want to partner with like-minded brands in driving these ambitious plans forward together.”
SailGP Teams New Zealand (through Live Ocean Racing), Great Britain (through the Athena Pathway Program), and the Denmark SailGP Team (through ROCK The Boat) have invested in closing the gender gap in professional sailing by creating their own women’s teams outside of SailGP.
“We don’t know what the Women’s Pathway is going to look like down the road but I think that’s even more exciting,” observed Australia SailGP Team’s Nina Curtis. “We don’t know if it will look like a female league or more inclusion on the boat as the league develops but what’s great is SailGP is taking time with this decision.
“Hopefully we’re going to have an outcome where the next generation of female athletes has a visible and very real pathway that drives them into foiling classes. All of a sudden there won’t be this massive skills gap we’re desperately trying to bridge at the moment. It’s only going to get better from here.”
The female athletes racing at the Spain Sail Grand Prix are (subject to change):
• Laurane Mettraux (SUI)
• Natasha Bryant (AUS)
• Liv Mackay (NZL)
• Georgia Lewin-LaFrance (CAN)
• Nikki Boniface (GBR)
• Paula Barceló (ESP)
• Erika Reineke (USA) – first event
• Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN)
• Manon Audinet (FRA)
Final Results – France
1. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 3-2-3-1 (1)
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 1-4-1-2 (2)
3. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 2-9-4-3 (3)
4. France (Quintin Delapierre), 6-6-2-5
5. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 5-1-7-7
6. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 9-3-8-6
7. Spain (Jordi Xammar), 4-5-9-8
8. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter/Nathan Outteridge), 7-8-5-4
9. Canada (Phil Robertson), 8-7-6-9
Season Three Standings (after five of 11 events)
1. Australia (Tom Slingsby), 42 points
2. New Zealand (Peter Burling), 41 points
3. Great Britain (Ben Ainslie), 34 points
4. Denmark (Nicolai Sehested), 33 points
5. France (Quintin Delapierre), 31 points
6. Canada (Phil Robertson), 29 points
7. United States (Jimmy Spithill), 25 points
8. Spain (Jordi Xammar), 15 points
9. Switzerland (Sebastien Schneiter), 12 points
2022-23 SailGP Season 3 Schedule
May 14-15, 2022 – Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19, 2022 – United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31, 2022 – Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 19-20, 2022 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
September 10-11, 2022 – France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 24-25, 2022 – Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
November 12-13, 2022 – Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
January 13-14, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 17-18, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 17-18, 2023 – New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
May 6-7, 2023 – United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 3 Grand Final)
Format for 2022-23 SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three qualifying races each day for all nine teams.*
• The top three teams from qualifying advance to a final race to be crowned event champion and earn the largest share of the $300,000 prize money to be split among the top three teams.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
* Qualifying schedule increased from five to six races at France SailGP.
For competition documents, click here.
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 for event prize money as the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.