Re­turn of the AC50, Kind of…

SAIL - - Racing Undersail -

Rus­sell Coutts and Larry El­li­son may have lost they Amer­ica’s Cup back in Ber­muda in 2017, but it ap­pears they are in­tent on steal­ing a march on cur­rent Cup-hold­ers Emi­rates Team New Zealand with the launch of what they are call­ing the SailGP sail­ing cir­cuit. An­nounced in early Oc­to­ber with all the fan­fare only one of the world’s rich­est men could muster, the cir­cuit will fea­ture six in­ter­na­tional teams com­pet­ing in five lo­ca­tions: be­gin­ning this Feb­ru­ary in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, then mov­ing on to San Fran­cisco; New York City; Cowes, Eng­land; and Mar­seille, France. Rac­ing will take place aboard a fleet of re-en­gi­neered AC50s—now called F50s—and in­clude such for­mer Cup stars as U.S. sailor Rome Kirby and UK helms­man Chris Daper. As was the case in Ber­muda, sta­dium-style in­shore cour­ses will be used to make sure fans get a closeup look at the ac­tion. Oh, and just to keep things in­ter­est­ing, the sea­son will cul­mi­nate in a sin­gle, $1 mil­lion match-rac­ing fi­nal be­tween the top two teams.

“SailGP dis­tills all of the most suc­cess­ful, ex­cit­ing and rel­e­vant el­e­ments of high-per­for­mance, pro­fes­sional rac­ing, while adding the ex­tra edge that comes with na­tion-ver­sus-na­tion com­pe­ti­tion,” Coutts said. “We are aim­ing to be pi­o­neers of new tech­nolo­gies, boat de­sign, com­mer­cial part­ner­ships and global au­di­ence en­gage­ment. But with ev­ery crew on the same ground­break­ing F50 cata­ma­ran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ul­ti­mate test to es­tab­lish the best sail­ing team.”

And then there’s that mil­lion bucks... Kind of makes sail­ing for some silly old cup that doesn’t even have a bot­tom to it seem quaint by com­par­i­son. For the lat­est on Coutts and El­li­son’s lat­est foray into the world of pro­fes­sional sail­ing, visit sailgp.com.

The SailGP cir­cuit will use a tur­bocharged ver­sion of the same boats that com­peted in Ber­muda

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