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Why SailGP is on the Rise

  • by: Ryan Abbot
  • On: 29, Aug 2023
3 min read

SailGP is growing more popular than ever before, thanks to the spectacle of the races, the skill of the competitors, and the community that is growing around the sport.

Now in its fourth season, SailGP is unlike any other racing on offer, with new fans flocking to the sport in droves. 117 million people watched last season, with more predicted this year, so now is the perfect time to get into this emerging sport.

What is SailGP?

SailGP is a marine racing tournament that runs every year. Currently, the countries that participate are: the USA, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, and Great Britain.

A new sport, the races are designed to be fast and exciting, to capture and keep attention. While other sports can last hours, SailGP races are typically around 15-20 minutes, meaning you get to the action right away, and everyone is pushing to their limits for the entire race.

Six races are held, with the last one being a battle between the top three performing teams across the season.

Perhaps most exciting of all: the final race is winner-takes-all, where anything can happen, and anyone can win.

Why SailGP is so popular

It’s a global sport

SailGP takes place all over the world, allowing for a huge range of locations to travel to, if you’re a superfan, or to watch from the comfort of home.

Season 4 will feature 12 events that will see new races in Los Angeles, Canada, and the Middle East, Italy and New York returning to the calendar, and classic locations such as Sydney, San Francisco, and Saint-Tropez.

It’s inclusive

Unlike many other sports, SailGP has mixed athletes. There were 26 female athletes on the teams last season, and the organisers are committing to bringing more women into the sport.

Their Women’s Pathway program aims to create gender equity in the sport, providing women with access to training and development opportunities.

The spectacle

SailGP features high-performance foiling catamarans that, when sailing at high-speeds, seem to fly above the water. Other factors, like waves and weather, can help create dramatic scenes for boats to sail across, battling it out against other competitors and the ocean itself.

Each racecourse is finalised by the race committee no later than five minutes before the starting signal, ensuring the weather conditions are right. This means each race is an unknown, a new experience, with no guarantee of who might win.

Tactics

Another reason why people love SailGP is the tactics, which can have a huge impact on how the race goes, with upsets and surprises happening frequently, making the sport a joy to watch.

Some will start slow, while others will dash out as fast as possible, trying to take the lead. Of course, this can lead to collisions and penalties, so sometimes it pays to hang back and avoid other boats.

And there are a lot of boats to avoid, with more teams taking part than ever before. This leads to most boats being within a close distance of each other, meaning no one’s lead is secure for long. Since collisions are a constant danger which can lead to heavy penalties, there is usually some creative sailing to avoid each other, while still trying to stay in the race.

This means that the race is on right up until the last moment, with no one playing it safe.

The F50 Catamaran

Lastly, the boats that take part in these races use cutting edge technology and production techniques, providing intense action and strong competition, every time.

10 years of development lead to the creation of the F50, with a top speed of around 54 knots, or 62 mph. All the boats in the series are the same model, with the same equipment, so no one has an edge in terms of hardware.

Part of why SailGP is popular is because the difference between winning and losing isn’t about who has the best setup: it comes down to courage, skill, tactics, and maybe a little luck.

SailGP is the most dynamic and exciting sailing you can watch, and some of the most dramatic racing you can see on the planet, so get involved and see why it’s growing in popularity year on year.

Learn more about marine racing, or learn about how the gas shortage is expected to impact the marine industry.

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