Team build-up

Yachting World - - Front Page -

At the time of go­ing to press, three of the six teams had been of­fi­cially an­nounced. Great Britain is skip­pered by Olympian Dy­lan Fletcher with Stu­art Bithell as ‘flight con­troller’, the pair balancing the Sailgp with a 2020 49er Olympic cam­paign. For­mer Luna Rossa helms­man Chris Draper is man­ager, wing trim­mer, and brings huge amounts of foil­ing cat ex­pe­ri­ence.

The likely early favourites are Team Aus­tralia, skip­pered by Tom Slingsby, an­other ex-or­a­cle Cup win­ner and Olympic gold medal­list. The team has Kyle Lang­ford wing trim­ming. Sur­pris­ingly, Nathan Out­teridge wasn’t named as part of the Aus­tralian team but is widely ex­pected to fea­ture in an­other en­try, pos­si­bly Team Ja­pan.

The USA team is headed up by Rome Kirby, from the 2013 win­ning Or­a­cle Cup team, with a young squad.

Or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing to ex­pand the line-up to 10 teams. The US$5 mil­lion an­nual costs will surely make Sailgp par­tic­u­larly ap­peal­ing to any team wa­ver­ing about putting in a late Amer­ica’s Cup chal­lenge.

The Amer­ica’s Cup pro­to­col could be in­ter­preted as for­bid­ding Cup teams from tak­ing part in Sailgp. But while the cur­rent Cup takes place in mono­hulls is there a temp­ta­tion for teams to run a sep­a­rate squad in the GP to keep up mul­ti­hull de­vel­op­ment? Keith Mills thinks not:

“The cur­rent Amer­ica’s Cup cy­cle is the most ex­pen­sive ever, as far as I can tell, and I can’t see an Amer­ica’s Cup team hav­ing the ap­petite to in­vest even more in an­other cir­cuit.”

There are syn­er­gies how­ever. Nick Hol­royd, chief de­signer for Ineos UK, was in­volved in the mod­i­fi­ca­tions

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