The sixth event of the SailGP season comes to Spain on October 9-10 with all eight F50 teams now expanding from five to six crew to include the league’s Women’s Pathway Program athletes (WPP) racing onboard for the first time in SailGP.
SailGP introduced the WPP at the start of this season as part of its better sport strategy to promote inclusion, inspire change and provide opportunities across all levels of the sport. While each team has been training their program members, this shift provides the next step for gaining racing experience.
With light winds in season two often reducing crew from five to three people, the league sees the newly-revealed larger 29 meter wingsail for light-wind conditions as providing the power to allow for the larger crew. The other wing sizes to cover the wind range to 30 knots are the 18m and 24m.
Great Britain SailGP Team athlete and the world’s most successful female Olympic sailor Hannah Mills is ready for the step forward. “For the female athletes to be in the thick of it, witnessing it all, getting in and helping wherever we can – tactics, strategy, and communications – I am really excited for that. The adrenaline rush is going to be massive, it already is when we do the practice racing.
Looking ahead, the six-crew configuration (or four in light winds) will be the new standard with the exception of the event in Australia on December 17-18 due to limitations presented by the pandemic. Otherwise, teams will now have female crew on the F50s.
WPP athletes to compete in Cádiz are Nina Curtis (AUS), Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN), Amelie Riou (FRA), Hannah Mills (GBR), Sena Takano (JPN), Erica Dawson (NZL), Andrea Emone (ESP), and CJ Perez (USA).
As the WPP initiative is still in its first year, SailGP teams have been active in their recruitment, training and development of female athletes. Each of the eight-nation fleet currently has at least one female team member embedded within the teams – gaining insight, data, and onboard experience – lending to their future success racing at the top of the sport.
“It is our responsibility as a global league to ensure we create a culture and sporting championship that has gender equity,” said SailGP CEO Russell Coutts. “It is no secret that there is currently an experience gap among women at the top of the sport and so far this season we have embedded female athletes in each of our teams to gain vital experience.
“But, we recognize we have to go further to close the gap and work quicker to accelerate change, which is why we are taking this next step. It is imperative to break existing boundaries and create a more inclusive environment.”
SailGP resumes for the final event of the European leg of the season on October 9-10 in Cádiz, Spain.
SailGP Season Championship (after 5 events
1. Japan, 37 pts
2. United States, 35 pts
3. Australia, 35 pts
4. Great Britain, 34 pts
5. Spain, 31 pts
6. New Zealand, 30 pts
7. Denmark, 28 pts
8. France, 27 pts
Format for SailGP events:
• Teams compete in identical F50 catamarans.
• Each event runs across two days.
• There are three races on each day, totaling six races at each event.
• The opening five fleet races involve every team.
• The final match race pits the three highest ranking teams against each other to be crowned event champion.
• The season ends with the Grand Final, which includes the Championship Final Race – a winner-takes-all match race for the $1m prize.
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
December 17-18, 2021 – Australia Grand Prix – Sydney
January 29-30, 2022 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Christchurch (CANCELLED)
March 26-27, 2022 – United States Grand Prix – San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)
*Subject to change
2021-22 Teams, Helm
Australia, Tom Slingsby
Denmark, Nicolai Sehested
France, Billy Besson
Great Britain, Ben Ainslie (alternate – Paul Goodison)
Japan, Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand, Peter Burling (alternate – Arnaud Psarofaghis)
Spain, Jordi Xammar (alternate – Phil Robertson)
United States, Jimmy Spithill
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 October 7th, 2021