Boating NZ - - Boat World -

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.

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