Investigation emerges from SailGP event

Published on May 10th, 2023

The penultimate event of Season 3 for SailGP is under investigation due to the risk the foiling F50s posed to sea life at the racing venue of Lyttelton Harbour in Christchurch, New Zealand.

When news came out prior to the racing on March 18-19 for how race management sought to protect the Hector’s dolphins, which were well known residents of the marine mammal sanctuary, it appeared there was more to the story, and now that looks to be the case.

Reported by Kiwi media newsroom, what didn’t halt the race’s momentum – from a public relations perspective – was news of a Department of Conservation (DoC) investigation into the event, and questions are now being asked about whether there was an element of control about when details were released about the investigation.

Leading up to the Lyttelton race, experts and conservation advocates expressed concerns about the danger to the dolphins, and their young, from the super-fast catamarans and the huge number of support and spectator boats.

SailGP’s marine mammal management plan, aimed at avoiding dolphin injuries and deaths, was put together by an advisory group chaired by Yvette Couch-Lewis, of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke Rāpaki.

The plan was reviewed and approved by the board of ChristchurchNZ, which is paying millions of dollars, in cash and in-kind, for the hosting rights.

This potential conflict gave rise to an accusation dollars were being put before dolphins, in a bid to promote Christchurch to the race’s TV audience. – Full report

SailGP informationNew Zealand detailsSeason 3 scoreboardYouTubeHow to watch

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 14-15, 2023 – Singapore Sail Grand Prix
February 18-19, 2023 – Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney
March 18-19, 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.

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