Hamilton, Bermuda – As sports league SailGP seeks to launch its second season in Bermuda on April 24-25, they have been granted approval today to continue operations despite the Bermuda government having issued a Stay at Home order on April 13 due to a recent spike in COVID-19 positive cases.
In liaison with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, SailGP has been working to follow the Bermuda Government’s tightening of COVID-19 protocols to ensure that the forthcoming Bermuda Sail Grand Prix, and the essential operations and on-water safety trials, can take place for the eight international teams.
After SailGP applied for exemptions to continue its operations at Cross Island and the on-water safety trials during the Government’s seven-day stay at home order, these exemptions were granted today for SailGP to continue to operate.
“We are extremely sympathetic to the current situation in Bermuda and our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by this terrible global pandemic,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “We are really pleased that we can return to our operations to ensure the safety of the event next weekend (April 24-25). We thank the government for their assistance and the people of Bermuda for their understanding.”
The ruling will allow the athletes to have sufficient time to familiarize themselves with all the new systems that have been recently implemented on their F50 boats. These on-water safety trials and training, that are vital to ensure the safety of all competitors for the competition, resumed today on the Great Sound.
Working with the Government, SailGP has drastically pared down its operational requirements over the stay at home order period, which concludes at 5am on April 20. Measures include reduced number of people onsite to only those that are essential to finishing the preparations of all eight boats and the on-water safety trials, a reduced training program from eight race boats to four boats, plus the reduction of onsite hours as much as possible.
In addition, SailGP is further revising aspects of its programming during the competition to ensure a safe and successful event. This includes changes to its hospitality program to comply with latest government protocols and the cancellation of the ticketed tour boat spectator experiences.
To ensure the safety of both local residents and the SailGP teams and support staff, the organization has worked closely with the Ministry of Health, alongside other leading experts, medical professions and other major elite sports events, on creating and implementing a robust COVID-Safe Plan.
This plan includes creating protocols for all staff to operate in strict designated bubble environments – which ensures no external contact – daily health reports and regular testing, among other measures.
The event plan is for it to be seen in 175 broadcast territories, including live in the United States on CBS, though is now expected to bring a smaller economic return to the island than the original forecast back in November, but according to Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Charles H. Jeffers II, “We still expect a healthy return from $5 million direct spending on-island and media exposure around the world.”
SAILGP SEASON 2 SCHEDULE*
April 24-25, 2021 – Bermuda Grand Prix
June 5-6, 2021 – Italy Grand Prix – Taranto
July 17-18, 2021 – Great Britain Grand Prix – Plymouth
August 20-21, 2021 – ROCKWOOL Denmark Grand Prix – Aarhus
September 11-12, 2021 – France Grand Prix – Saint-Tropez
October 9-10, 2021 – Spain Grand Prix – Andalusia
January 29-30, 2022 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Christchurch
March 26-27, 2022 – United States Grand Prix – San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)
*Subject to change
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling
Spain, Jordi Xammar/ Phil Robertson*
United States, Jimmy Spithill
* Xammar will helm with Season 1 skipper Phil Robertson (NZL) serving in an interim capacity. Details.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans with the season culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.
Published on April 15th, 2021