Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 31
SailGP – Swiss team takes to the water for first ‘full-throttle’ training
The Switzerland SailGP Team has hit speeds close to 90 km/h after taking to the water for first time ahead of the start of Season 3 in Bermuda on May 14-15.
Driver Sébastien Schneiter, the youngest driver of the series so far, has been putting his crew through their paces as training gets underway on Great Sound, Bermuda.
It was a milestone moment for the newcomer team, which together with the Canada SailGP Team, will race for the first time in Season 3.
Supported by SailGP’s on the ground tech team, Switzerland SailGP’s F50 took to the water in breezy conditions, leaving the team no choice but to “go full throttle the whole time,” according to Schneiter.
“We first beared away out of the harbour at 46 knots (85 km/h),” he said, “the boat was incredibly fast, like nothing I’ve ever done before. Sailing here on the Great Sound on any type of foiling boat is great but especially for the F50 is really ideal”
Schneiter allowed a glimpse into the Swiss team’s racing strategy, stating the crew will be “in push mode”. “We’re trying to be as careful as we can (…) but we don’t want to be backing off,” he said.
PlanetSail – OnCourse Episode 18: Speed Freaks
The speed story continues as the Swiss SP80 campaign based at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne gets closer to launching its radical speed machine. If it looked ambitious in the previous episode, the real version is wild.
But the Swiss aren’t the only ones rolling a high speed weapon out of their shed - the Kiwis are getting close to doing the same in their attempt at setting a new land speed record. We find out why they think charging across a dried up salt lake is a good way to prepare for a defence of the America’s Cup in 2024.
And with that in mind, Emirates Team New Zealand has also just launched its green powered foiling racer chaser, the first of a new breed of support boats that are now compulsory for Cup teams.
Plus, fifteen minutes, one million dollars, how the Season 2 closer for SailGP staged in SanFrancisco played out.
We also take a look at the latest America’s Cup news. And on a different tack, we take a first taste of a fresh Oyster as PlanetSail is the first aboard the eagerly awaited Oyster 495.
SailGP launches Deep Dive podcast for Season 3
SailGP, the purpose-driven global racing championship, has released the first episode of Deep Dive, a sports punditry podcast taking fans behind the scenes of every aspect of its upcoming third season.
Deep Dive is hosted by SailGP’s international broadcast commentators and world-class sailors Stevie Morrison and David ‘Freddie’ Carr. As professional sailors, they bring a unique insight and knowledge of the sport and its stars, having raced alongside and against many of SailGP’s world-class athletes. Morrison competed at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games and Carr has taken part in six America’s Cup challenges over the last 20 years.
Featuring the sports best athletes, SailGP Season 3 boasts an impressive global calendar of events starting with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess on May 14 and 15, culminating in the Grand Final in San Francisco in May 2023. In between, the championship visits iconic destinations including Chicago, Plymouth, Copenhagen, Saint-Tropez, Cádiz, Dubai and Christchurch.
The first episode drops in the lead-up to the season opener in Bermuda and Morrison and Carr bring fans comprehensive coverage of the SailGP pre-season. Part one is available now and analyzes the first half of the Season 3 field, along with the hosts’ predictions on what to expect this year and who might claim the SailGP Championship Trophy. Part two will cover last season’s finalists and two-time SailGP Champion Tom Slingsby’s Australia team and is set for release on May 6, 2022 – one week out from the season start.
From there, each episode will recap the preceding Grand Prix weekend in full, and deliver predictions and news for the next event. The hosts will interview SailGP drivers to unpack the pivotal moments on the water that shaped the outcome of each event – as well as the drama off-water – plus add their own insight on how events unfolded.
Available on all major podcast platforms – with new episodes arriving ahead of each event of SailGP Season 3 – Deep Dive is produced in partnership with Cue Podcasts, a UK-based production company specializing in branded podcasts. The team at Cue have previously produced shows for Roc Nation, Samsung, VICE, Halifax, and more.
Jose Garnes, Head of Content at SailGP said: “For SailGP Season 3, we want to make SailGP more accessible to our fans and bring them unique news and insights. To do that, we have increased the content offering and the platforms where our fans can go to truly get under the skin of SailGP and creating a dedicated podcast for our league was the next logical step. Having Stevie and Freddie as our hosts is incredibly exciting, I know they will bring the perfect combination of knowledge and banter to allow our listeners to deep dive into every Grand Prix.”
Niall Killeney-Taylor, Head of Production at Cue Podcasts said: “When we first spoke to the SailGP team, we were incredibly excited to create a podcast that not only supports one of the fastest growing sports out there, but also connects with sailing fans all over the world. Producing a show that travels across several continents in a single championship is a challenge, but it’s one we can’t wait to deliver to listeners.”
Co-host Stevie Morrison said: “We can’t wait to take fans behind the scenes of the most exciting racing on water, analyzing every aspect of what looks like the most thrilling season of SailGP yet. We can promise our listeners exclusive insight into the sport’s best athletes with a really exciting lineup of guests in the season ahead.”
SailGP is one of the fastest growing sports leagues. About to start its third season, two new teams have been added to the lineup with Canada and Switzerland joining the existing field of Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States. The national teams battle it out in identical hydro foiling F50 catamarans, flying at speeds approaching 100 km/h which results in smashes, crashes and some very close calls – all of which will be dissected on the new podcast.
The Yacht Racing Podcast – Morgan Reeser
Justin Chisholm’s guest is American Olympic silver medalist and renowned performance coach Morgan Reeser.
Reeser won a silver medal in the 470 class at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona sailing with the legendary Kevin Burnham and has since coached the Greek women’s and British men’s pairings to Olympic gold and silver respectively and established himself as a sought after performance coach across a range of classes from small one-design keelboats to TP52s.
Unsurprisingly he has a treasure chest of great stories from his long career in yachting and is always keen to share his enthusiasm for the sport that has served him so well throughout his life.
Carolijn Brouwer and Sailing Team NextGen confirm VO65 entry in The Ocean Race 2022-23
Sailing Holland and DutchSail have announced that they will compete in the VO65 class in the upcoming edition of The Ocean Race with ‘SAILING TEAM NEXTGEN’ – a Dutch-owned team sailing on behalf of yacht clubs the KNZ&RV and KRZV De Maas.
The campaign is focused on future generations and supported by five partners, each of which is committed to the next generations based on their own expertise. In addition, the team can count on the support of a large group of companies united in a business club.
It’s the thirteenth time in fourteen editions a Dutch-owned team will compete in the world’s most prestigious sailing competition around the world. The campaign can count on the support of Dutch Olympian Carolijn Brouwer who – racing aboard the Chinese-flagged Dongfeng Race Team – made history in the last edition when she became the first woman to win the race.
After three participations in foreign teams, it’s the first time that Brouwer has committed herself to a Dutch campaign in The Ocean Race.
“Historically the Dutch are the strongest country in The Ocean Race,” she said. “ABN AMRO ONE was the last Dutch-flagged boat to win the race, but there was no Dutchie on board. In the last race I was on the winning boat – but that was not with a Dutch team.”
“However, I have never sailed in a Dutch team. This campaign is hopefully going to change that. Not for myself, but for the next generations. I really believe we could inspire a lot of young kids back at home and at the local sailing clubs. Next to that, I would like to transfer my knowledge and experience to the next generation of young sailors. They need to see that dreams are achievable. ”
Sail-World – Fifth edition of the Foiling Awards held at the Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan
The fifth edition of the Foiling Awards was held in the wonderful hall of the Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, in an atmosphere appropriate for the Oscars of flying boating. After a year of absence due to the pandemic, the awards this year took into consideration the achievements between 2020 and 2021.
Twelve awards ranging from best sailor to best project dedicated to commercial navigation where presented.
Front Office Sports – SailGP is building the future of competitive sailing
SailGP is on a mission to make sailing a mainstream sport – writes Ernest Baker.
“We know we’re not going to be fishing in the same pond as the NFL or Formula One just yet, but I think we punch above our weight for what we are,” said Andrew Thompson, SailGP’s Chief Commercial & Financial Officer.
What they are is a sailing league that may very well reinvent the sport and grow it from a niche phenomenon to something much bigger.
Thompson told me this in March while watching several 50-foot-long F50 foiling catamarans get craned out to the choppy San Francisco Bay waters from SailGP’s base at Pier 96.
It was day one of the season-closing Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix, where teams from eight countries competed for $1 million — a prize that the Australian team skippered by sailing great Tom Slingsby would eventually claim.
SailGP was founded by Sir Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison in 2018.
Coutts, the league’s CEO, is a champion yachtsman with an Olympic gold medal and five America’s Cup trophies to his name Ellison, the founder of Oracle, has a net worth that hovers around $100 billion. He’s committed to funding the first five years of SailGP operations.
Ellison has a history with Coutts and sailing. The pair worked together on the Oracle teams that won the America’s Cup in 2010 and 2013.
The frequency of races is one of SailGP’s main differentiators. The Grand Final on the San Francisco Bay was the finale of an eight-team, eight-event season.
Season three, which begins with a competition in Bermuda in mid-May, has grown to 10 teams and nine events and may announce more events before the season gets underway.
Pure Ocean Challenge – Re-establishing a classic race
Ahead of the start of the Pure Ocean callenge between Bermuda and Lorient next month, which will resurrect the infamous series of races which took place over 40 years ago, those involved in this and historic editions have reflected on the importance of the route and its resurgence.
Back in 1979, the first edition of the race saw Jean-Claude Parisis and Olivier de Rosny on the monohull Fernande finishing third as Éric Tabarly and Marc Pajot on Paul Ricard were beaten into second place by Eugène Riguidel and Gilles Gahinet with just 5 minutes and 42 seconds separating the top two boats.
Olivier de Rosny said: “It was such a pleasure to race in this competitive boat and I can remember passing the banks of Newfoundland with winds of 30 knots which was a lot more than the other boats who were following a route further south.
“When we finally arrived in Lorient we were both very surprised at how many people were there to welcome us back and we were inundated with letters congratulating us on our achievement.”
Olivier de Rosny believes that resurrecting the crossing challenge is a great opportunity for boats to return to France after the Caribbean racing season.
He said: “It adds a bit of spice to the crossing rather than doing a straightforward delivery and it will ensure that each sailor is also doing something to help protect the sea so that future generations can continue to enjoy this huge playground that is our ocean.”
Organised by the Pure Ocean Foundation, Absolute Dreamer and Lorient Grand Large, this time, the multi-class event aims to highlight ocean conservation and raise funds for the foundation’s work to support ambitious and innovative scientific projects for the protection of biodiversity and fragile marine ecosystems.
This year entrants will be looking to better the crossing time of 12 days 23 hours et 16 minutes set in 1983 by Eugène Riguidel and Jean-François le Menec, in the catamaran William-Saurin.
Jean-Pierre Dick, four-times Transat Jacques Vabre winner and CEO of Absolute Dreamer racing team, will be taking part this year. He visited Lorient for the first time to watch the close finish of the first edition.
“All the French sailors who were around at the time still remember the arrival and actually being there for me was a special occasion. The race really captured the public imagination and there was no other race like it at that time but then it disappeared,” said Dick.
“I think we need to use this legend to help us to begin a new story with a modern version of this race to re-establish Bermuda - Lorient as a classic. It’s a very good distance and a very interesting course because it’s not too long and late spring is a good time to do it as there are lots of daylight hours and, as it’s not yet summer, there should be some good winds.
He hopes to establish a new reference time for the race this spring, bettering those set over forty years ago.
Dick added: “The best scenario is for a depression that brings us directly from Bermuda to Brittany with good winds. The flipside would be anticyclonic conditions bringing light winds which would lengthen the course by forcing the fleet north in search of downwind conditions.”
The 1979 edition which saw Tabarly take the win is also etched into the memory of Jean-Phillipe Cau, president of Lorient Grand Large.
“At the time we realised how much interest and enthusiasm there was for offshore racing within the sailing world and amongst the wider public,” cau said. “We’re now helping launch an exciting new edition of this mythical race. This gives us a unique opportunity to not only showcase a race finishing in Lorient but one that, through the efforts of Pure Ocean, is trying to make a difference to the health of our seas.”