Sail GP has confirmed that the 2022 series will be expanded to 10 events, with the UK stage returning to Plymouth
Sail GP, the multi-event foiling catamaran circuit, will be expanded to 10 events for the 2022/23 season.
Beginning in Bermuda in May 2022, the foiling F50 circuit has announced new host venues including Chicago – famously known as ‘The Windy City’ on the US eastern seaboard, Copenhagen in Denmark, and Dubai.
Event organisers have also announced a four-year partnership with New Zealand venues which will see Christchurch on the south island, and Auckland on the north, alternate to host the competition.
The European stage of the Sail GP 2022 tour will kick off in July with the Great Britain Sail GP returning to Plymouth after this summer’s successful running there, before heading to Copenhagen, St Tropez on the south coast of France, and then the Atlantic venue Cadiz, which delivered dramatic conditions this year.
The circuit then moves to its first ever Middle Eastern venue, with November racing in Dubai. The series will conclude in April 2023.
The series has expanded to include 10 teams, so far featuring Australia, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, France, New Zealand, United States and Denmark, with Canada and Switzerland the newest nationalities to join.
Sail GP 2022: proving its worth?
Sail GP was founded by Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts and, although initially funded by the Oracle founder’s extremely deep pockets, was always created with the aim that the event would generate its own revenue. Hence it’s no surprise that three of the events already carry title sponsorship.
Together with the recent announcement that SIr Ben Ainslie has become the majority owner in his Great Britain Sail GP team, while other teams are now carrying title sponsorship, it appears that the commercial potential of the circuit seems to be coming to fruition.
Followers of the ongoing debate surrounding the America’s Cup’s venue uncertainty will also find it hard not to draw comparisons, with Sail GP not only confirming a four-year commitment to racing in New Zealand, but multiple-year deals secured with several other venues on the circuit. Despite this, however, it’s worth noting the first planned New Zealand Sail GP event, in January 2022, has been cancelled after the event’s request for ‘Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ)’ facilities – the strict protocols New Zealand is using to manage the transmission of coronavirus – were denied.
SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said: “When Larry Ellison and I came up with the concept for SailGP, we envisaged a league with the best athletes in the world, racing in equal high-tech boats that are extremely fast, creating exciting, close to shore action, and with a regular season for our fans to truly engage with the sport globally.
“We set ourselves a five year goal, but to sit here in Season 3 with ten teams on the start line – including two new franchised teams – an expanded season calendar, an impressive collection of commercial and broadcast partners, purpose and impact at our heart with a positive impact on the environment and an immersive fan experience through our broadcast and gaming offer – I simply couldn’t be happier with what has already been achieved.”
Women’s pathway returns
Organisers have confirmed that the ‘Impact League’, in which teams are awarded points for their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their activities, will continue for Sail GP 2022. The Women’s Pathway programme is also to continue, although we are awaiting further details on which events women sailors will be competing at.
The 2021/22 series continues on 17-18 December at Sydney. Home team Australia, skippered by Sydney local Tom Slingsby, currently lead the series so all eyes will on them to see if they can defend their advantage.
The season finale takes place in San Francisco, with the Grand Final from March 26-27.
SailGP Season 3 Schedule 2022/23
- May 14-15 Bermuda SailGP presented by Hamilton Princess
- June 18-19 United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
- July 30-31 Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
- August 19-20 Rockwool Denmark SailGP | Copenhagen
- September 10-11 France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
- September 24-25 Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cádiz
- November 11-12 Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
- 2023 New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
- Two more events TBC
Source: Yachting World