SailGP: flying catamarans return to Sydney Harbor in December


SailGP’s 50ft high-speed flying catamarans will return to Sydney Harbor in December, almost two years after their first appearance in Down Under.

Organizers said Thursday the Australian Sailing Grand Prix will be the ninth event on the calendar for the second season of the world championship. The race will take place in Sydney Harbor on December 17-18 after the European stage of Season 2 takes place in Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, France and Spain.

The 2020 race in Australia has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British entry skippered by quadruple Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie won what was then the season 2 opening regatta in February 2020. But the result was canceled when the season was delayed.

Olympic gold medalist and former America’s Cup winner Tom Slingsby and his Aussie team took home the $ 1 million winner in 2019.

Sydney was not originally on the 2021 schedule due to Australia’s strict quarantine rules and a blanket ban on international visitors during the pandemic, but local organizers have worked with governments to ensure that the The event can take place under strict controls.

Following Sydney, SailGP will travel to New Zealand in January 2022, followed by San Francisco, which will host the grand finale on March 26-27, where the Season 2 champion will be determined in another million-dollar final. dollars. .

With most international visitors still barred from entering Australia, Sydney organizers said the Sydney event “will meet government guidelines and SailGP’s own COVID-Safe plan.”

There will be regular COVID-19 testing and a reduced number of people at the event.

“All SailGP athletes who have competed so far for Season 2, who have returned to Australia, have been quarantined as per government guidelines and by joining,” organizers said in a statement to The Associated. Press.

Joining Australia and Slingsby in the series are seven other teams from Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.

“Having eight F50s lined up and racing in Sydney Harbor is going to be a pretty spectacular sight for the fans and with the caliber of sailors we have on these boats this year we can expect some action packed races,” Slingsby said in a statement.

“We lost to British team Ben Ainslie at the Sydney event last year, so our focus is on revenge and Australia winning in front of a local crowd.”


AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this story.


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