The exciting SailGP Championship is underway, with the eight teams battling it out at events around the globe to make it to the top of the leaderboard and scoop the $1 million prize.
But what exactly is SailGP? What makes it different to other sailing races and how can you get involved when it comes to Plymouth? We’re taking a look at this thrilling event in more detail…
What is SailGP?
In simple terms, SailGP sees eight sailing teams compete in equal boats across eight events. Where SailGP differs from other events is the boats themselves, and the elite athletes who are racing them.
Season 2 of SailGP kicked off in April 2021 in Bermuda. At the time of writing, the second event of the series, held in Taranto in southern Italy, is happening in a couple of weeks time.
Where it starts to get really exciting for us here at Sutton Harbour Marina, is the 3rd event in the series, which is happening right here in Plymouth on 17th and 18th of July.
What’s special about the boats in SailGP?
The boat used by all teams in SailGP is the incredible F50, a cutting-edge one-design catamaran.
The F50 is a high-performance, foiling multihull, and the first boat to reach 92.6 km/h (50 knots/57.5 mph) during racing. It has a predicted top speed of over 96.6 km/h (52.2 knots/60 mph)!
The SailGP website explains how the F50 differs from the AC50 (that raced in the America’s Cup), which it was based on…
“The foils are constructed with higher modulus carbon fiber, producing a thinner section which has less resistance at high speeds. The geometry of the boards has been extended outside the maximum beam of the boat which provides more righting moment and a smoother transition between the vertical and horizontal sections of the foil.
These improvements all work towards the boat moving significantly faster, as the onset of cavitation – the reduction of water pressure caused by the foils resulting in water boiling and creating air bubbles which increase drag and reduce lift – is delayed until much higher speeds.
Drag has been further reduced as the lower section of the rudders are manufactured with high-strength stainless steel, and there are different size rudders, foils and jibs that can be equipped depending on the wind speed to ensure the racing remains of the highest quality.” (source https://sailgp.com/general/sailgp-f50/)
Who’s on Team GB?
Team GB are currently at the top of the leaderboard! Helmed by the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Ben Ainslie, Team GB is made up of some of the country’s top sporting talents.
Ben Ainslie – Helm
Luke Parkinson – Flight Controller
Iain Jensen – Wing Trimmer
Matt Gotrel – Grinder
Richard Mason – Grinder
Neil Hunter – Grinder
There are changes coming to the line-up for the Taranto and Plymouth stages – due to long standing commitments, skipper Ben Ainslie will be replaced by decorated foiling sailor Paul Goodison.
How can I get involved with SailGP in Plymouth?
When the SailGP event arrives in Plymouth this summer, get yourself the best seat in the house with one of the excellent experience packages on offer.
Options include the On-Water Premium package, a three hour experience including a premium bar, canapés and a privileged position on the racecourse perimeter.
Or how about positioning your own vessel at one of the turning gates while you proudly fly your souvenir flag?
There’s a limited number of tickets available, so visit the website today to find out more and buy online so you don’t miss out https://sailgp.com/races/great-britain-sail-grand-prix-event-page/