Races are usually just 12-16 minutes long, designed to capture attention. Photo: Thomas Lovelock/SailGP

What is SailGP?

SailGP came about after the 2017 America’s Cup between Larry Ellison’s Team Oracle USA and Emirates Team New Zealand and is now in its 4th season.

During the Bermuda America’s Cup there had been much discussion about creating an America’s Cup World Series in foiling catamarans, a discussion led by Ellison and supported by most of the Challengers.

But when Emirates Team New Zealand delivered their shock win in 2017, they instead announced a return to monohulls for Cup racing (the spectacular AC75s raced in Auckland for the America’s Cup in 2021 and set to be raced again for the next AC in Barcelona, 2024).

Ellison, boss of technology giant Oracle, and Russell Coutts, a five-times America’s Cup winner, decided to launch a brand new multi-stage global circuit in foiling catamarans: Sail GP.

The new racing circuit was announced with much fanfare and a $1m prize purse for each season.

The series rules also featured tight nationality rules – at the time tighter than for the America’s Cup itself – albeit with exemptions for countries without a strong history in the sport, to draw emerging sailing nations into the series.

Racing features teams racing under their national flag, in foiling catamarans, with all the action televised using the software created to broadcast the 2013 and 2017 America’s Cups.

Photo: Bob Martin for SailGP

Each SailGP event runs across two days and there are three races on each day, totalling six races at each event.

The opening five fleet races involve every team while the final match race pits the two 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.

What boats does SailGP use?

SailGP is raced in equally matched foiling, wing sailed, 50ft catamarans, known as the SailGP F50, which are based on the AC50 design that was used for the 2017 America’s Cup

Ellison and Coutts, sensing an opportunity to turn the AC50s into a one design class, modified many of the existing boats used by the different Cup teams, built some new hulls and rigs, and created a new, one design class.

Photo: Sam Greenfield for SailGP

Although the boats are equally matched, the intention is to upgrade the whole fleet on a continuous development cycle, so the design can remain at the forefront of the latest foiling developments without creating an expensive arms race for the latest tech.

New developments have included a modular wingsail for the F50, which will allow racing in both lighter and stronger wind ranges, with the winds able to be increased or decreased in size.

Who are the teams in SailGP?

The 10 teams, representing 10 nations that currently compete in SailGP are: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, United States

When is SailGP?

The fourth season of SailGP will begin in June 2023 and will take in 12 events across the globe  and will conclude with the Grand Finale in San Francisco in July 2024.

Chicago: 16-17 June 2023
LA: 23-24 July 2023
St. Tropez: 9-10 September 2023
Taranto: 23-24 September 2023
Andalucia: 14-15 October, 2023
United Arab Emirates: 13-14 January, 2024
Sydney: 24-25 February, 2024
Auckland: 23-24 March, 2024
Bermuda: 4-5 May, 2024
Canada: 1-2 June, 2024
New York: 22-23 June, 2024
San Francisco: 13-14 July, 2024

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