SailGP is set to kick-off in Sydney Harbour
SailGP is set to kick-off in Sydney Harbour

If you haven’t heard, SailGP is an exciting new professional sailing league that’s taking the sailing world by storm.

Described as ‘sailing redefined,’ SailGP is an annual, global sports league featuring cutting-edge technology and elite athleticism from some of the world’s top sailors.

The first races of the inaugural 2019 series is set to take place this Friday and Saturday afternoon (15 – 16 February) on beautiful Sydney Harbour. If you’re not in Sydney or able to get down to the harbour to watch the event, it will be broadcast live on Fox Sports, streamed live on Kayo Sports and available on the SailGP App 24 hours post-racing.

So, what is SailGP all about? Here are 5 things you need to know about this new sailing series:

1. There is a lot up for grabs

The 5-event series includes 2 days of racing in Sydney, San Francisco, New York, Cowes and Marseille. The season will cumulate with a single, $1 million match-race final between the top two teams in Marseille in September 2019.

2. SailGP has some big backing

SailGP was created by technology businessman and entrepreneur Larry Ellison, co-founder and CTO of Oracle Corporation, and Russell Coutts, world champion New Zealand yachtsman whose achievements include an Olympic gold medal and 5 America’s Cup wins.

Ellison, who has a net worth of about $63 billion, will initially fund the circuit. The plan is for it to later move to a franchise model.

3. SailGP is being sailed on fast flying machines

SailGP is being raced on one design foiling 50’s which are the same wing sailed multihulls used in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda.

They are expected to hit speeds of more than 50 knots, although we haven’t yet seen speeds quite that high.

4. It takes a lot of people to run SailGP

As well as the sailors, there is a large team of talented men and women behind the scenes doing everything from media and finance to technical maintenance and preparation.

It takes a team of 25 people 1 hour to get each F-50 into the water and ready to sail; that’s a lot of effort to get set-up on race day!

The crane used to get the F-50s in the water and attach the wing.
The crane used to get the F-50s in the water and attach the wing.

5. Nationality rules in SailGP

In many sailing (and other sporting) events, the nationality of the sailors doesn’t necessarily match the nationality of the team they represent.

This is not the case in SailGP.

The majority of SailGP teams will be fully comprised of sailors native to the country they are representing. Select countries without the experience necessary to safely and competitively power the F50 boats will be provided a pathway to build to 100 percent nationality by allowing a percentage of foreign sailors.

The Chinese F-50 at SailGP HQ, Cockatoo Island, Sydney
The Chinese F-50 at SailGP HQ, Cockatoo Island, Sydney

Want to learn more? Head to the official SailGP website or check out the live event coverage this weekend.