ANOTHER LIFE FOR AC35 FOILING CATS
Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts and launched earlier this year, Sailgp is a new global racing league promising a new life for the class of foiling cats similar to those used in the Bermuda AC35 event. The series – comprising five grand prix events featuring six national teams on identical wing-sailed F50s – will take place in Sydney, San Francisco, New York, Cowes (UK) and Marseille (France), as crews compete for the championship trophy and a $1 million prize.
Kicking off in February next year, Sailgp’s inaugural season will feature teams representing six countries – Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States.
Each five-person crew will race on identical 50-foot foiling catamarans. A new boat class, the F50 is a redesigned, supercharged incarnation of the AC50. Twelve months in development by technicians and engineers at Core Builders Composites north of Auckland, the F50s are expected to break the 50-knot barrier.
Sanctioned by World Sailing, each grand prix will comprise two competition days with five fleet races, culminating in a final match race between the two leaders.
After Sailgp’s Sydney inauguration in February (15–16), the league moves on to San Francisco in May (4–5), New York in June (21–22), and Cowes in August (10–11), before the Marseille final in September (20–22).
The final event features a winner-takes-all, $1 million championship match-race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.