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The driver of Japan’s SailGP boat has tempered his criticism after accusing the GB team of reckless sailing in the aftermath of Sir Ben Ainslie’s F50 catamaran slicing off its bow in a collision.

As Marine Industry News reports, the incident occurred at the start of the final race of the opening day of the Australian SailGP event in Sydney on Friday (17 December).

Nathan Outteridge of the Japan team initially complained that the incident had “definitely ruined our boat and any chance of winning this event”.

But he later dialled down his cricisim of Sir Ben’s team, saying: “It wasn’t malicious, there’s six people on board and you’ve got to try and look around and use everyone on board to spot the boats.”

Sir Ben described the collision as a “mistake”, adding: “The Americans, we were in a defensive mode against them and I just completely didn’t see the Japanese team at all.”

GB were given six penalty points by the chief umpire for causing serious damage. They also lose two points from their overall season total — effectively ending hopes of a top-three finish.

They also lose their approval to race on Saturday after Japan’s boat was ruled out of further action “due to the extensive damage caused”, SailGP confirmed in a statement.

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SailGP will launch SailGP Insights, a new online dashboard that provides fans with vast amounts of data from the identical hydrofoiling F50 catamarans that feature in the purpose-led, global racing league.

SailGP Insights perfectly complements SailGP's broadcast partners' coverage, enabling fans to access in-depth information about the world's most exciting racing on-water, while watching the live event feed.

Every second of every race of each SailGP event will be tracked by SailGP Insights, and fans can follow all eight teams on the dashboard to discover and understand key in-race statistics and incidents, with all the data pulled from the boats in real-time.

SailGP Insights is powered by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), delivering real-time data to fans worldwide – as well as the eight teams themselves and SailGP's broadcast partners.

SailGP Insights will be available for the very first time at the Australia Sail Grand Prix to be held in Sydney on December 17 and 18.

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SailGP returns in its third season with additional new teams, more iconic cities and thrilling racing as it reaffirms its status as the most exciting and purpose-driven racing on-water. The future has never looked brighter for SailGP as it expands both its competitive roster and an enviable list of global event locations, whilst returning to some fan-favourite destinations that attracted thousands of fans in Season 2.

Ireland was in the mix for a Sail GP Tour visit but, as Afloat reported in September, lack of shoreside space at Dun Laoghaire stalled the bid.

Once again bringing the sport's best roster of athletes together, the global championship welcomes two new franchise teams for its third season, with Canada and Switzerland set to expand SailGP's reach to new audiences. They join teams from Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.

SailGP Season 3 has been expanded to include ten events, with seven Grand Prix taking place in 2022 and the remainder in the first quarter of 2023, with the season expected to finish in April 2023.

Season 2 of SailGP continues with the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG in Sydney on December 17 and 18. The season will conclude March 26 and 27 with the SailGP Grand Final in San Francisco.

SailGP Season 3 Schedule* // 2022-2023

  • May 14-15 // Bermuda Sail Grand Prix 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 Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen
  • September 10-11 // France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
  • September 24-25 // Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía - Cadiz
  • November 11-12 // Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas
  • 2023 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch

*Further events will be announced to complete Season 3, which will conclude April 2023 and is expected to comprise ten events.

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Over 11,000 fans witnessed the Australians claim SailGP victory after a dramatic podium race with powerhouse rivals The US and Great Britain.

The Spanish home team went from hero to zero when a capsize ahead of the final day of racing in Cádiz, Andalusia, took the Spanish team out of contention for the Spain Sail Grand Prix. However, it wasn’t the only team to suffer a devastating blow. Ben Ainslie’s team also turned-over in the choppy waters of the Bay of Cádiz in the final podium race, leaving Tom Slingsby’s Australian team to take the victory. 

After an impressive opening day, winning its first ever SailGP race in front of thousands of cheering fans lining the streets and Bay of Cádiz, Phil Robertson’s Spanish team was focused on day two. But intense conditions – racing at the top end of the window for the 24m wingsail – saw the team’s dreams shattered before the F50 could get onto the racecourse.

Eighty minutes before the start of the first race, the Spanish team capsized as it headed to the race area. Everyone was accounted for straight away but, on righting the boat, it was clear that the damage sustained to the wingsail would mean that the team would be heading back to the dock early.

“We’ve been in two finals and we feel like we can actually win an event now,” says Robertson. “We came into today with the whole support of the country behind us and the fans here in Cádiz. We thought we could do some good stuff, we quite enjoyed the windy conditions and it all went a bit pear-shaped from the get-go. It’s going to be a tough road from here for us but we are competitive, so we are just going to have to do our best.”

After two intense races on the final day, it was the powerhouses of Australia, Great Britain and Jimmy Spithill’s US team that faced off in the final. Ainslie timed the start to perfection, and the three F50s flew off the line at ridiculous speeds with the Brits in front. However, at the first turning mark, the Brits followed the same fate as the Spanish and capsized the boat following a serious nose-dive. The spectacular capsize inevitably ended the Brits quest for top spot, leaving the Aussies to run away with the win.

“It’s really disappointing for the team. Before that, we had a great day, and really enjoyed sailing in the breeze. So I am just frustrated with the overall final race,” says Ainslie.

“It’s really hard to explain to people just how tough the F50s are to sail. You can see we’ve got great sailors on our team, we had a great start, we got into the lead. Unless you’re absolutely perfect with your trim and balance of the boat, you can just lose control as we did. Tough one for the team but we take it on the chin and hope to come back stronger.”

The F50 action returns to Sydney, Australia on December 17-18 for the penultimate event before the Race to San Francisco, set for March 2022.

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Ahead of the sixth event in the global racing league’s second season in Cadiz - Andalucía, the Great Britain SailGP Team has become the first of the existing eight SailGP teams to evolve to a third party owned franchise with Ben Ainslie, the world’s most successful Olympic sailor and America’s Cup winner, taking majority ownership of the team.

This announcement comes with further news that two additional new franchise teams will be joining the league for Season 3, the first of which was announced as a Swiss team on September 6th in Geneva. It also comes as news of a bid to host an Irish stage of the Tour at Dun Laoghaire or Cork Harbour.

When Ainslie entered SailGP for Season 2, he secured an option from Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison to take ownership of the team franchise if the team’s running costs and liabilities were covered in full. Through an investment from Chris Bake this option has been exercised and Ainslie and Bake now take majority ownership of the team. Larry Ellison’s Oracle Racing Inc retain a minority equity in the team.

Sir Ben AinslieSir Ben Ainslie

The greater commercial opportunities owning the majority of the Great Britain SailGP Team franchise provide were one of the key drivers behind Ainslie’s and Bake’s investment, with the pure sporting challenge enhanced by SailGP’s innovative sustainability and pathway programmes.

SailGP resumes in Cadiz, Spain for the final event of the European leg of the season on 9-10 October 2021.

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Talks to bring a round of the 'SailGP' sailing Grand Prix to Dublin Bay in 2022 have encountered strong headwinds over a lack of shoreside space at Ireland's biggest sailing centre at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Afloat sources say.

It is the second world-class sailing event to consider an Irish port as a potential venue with Cork Harbour's bid for the 37th America's Cup also up and running.

Although Fáilte Ireland chiefs and officials from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are in talks with SailGP, it is understood the east coast Harbour and Ireland's biggest marine leisure centre, cannot facilitate the circuit, due to a lack of shoreside space required by race organisers.

SailGP teams compete in identical F50 wing sailed catamarans that can reach speeds of up to 100km/h and each six-race Grand Prix event runs across two days.

The $1m prize is the biggest award in the sport of sailing.

Currently, eight teams representing Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States contest eight events held in as many countries over an 11-month period. The prospect of an Irish crew has been mooted. 

SailGP is the global sailing grand Prix series created by former America’s Cup yacht race winners Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour - an area to the right of the marina has been ruled out as a base for a potential SailGP tour due to bus parking requirements for visiting cruise liners recommencing in 2022. Dun Laoghaire Harbour - an area to the right of the town marina has been ruled out as a base for a potential SailGP tour due to bus parking requirements for visiting cruise liners recommencing in 2022. 

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, the Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire TD, initiated discussions around a bid in January.  Discussions with key organisers in harbour yacht clubs got the green light.

However, a Dun Laoghaire source told Afloat this week: "it's dead, deader than dead". "There is no room in the harbour shoreside to accommodate SailGP's excessive needs".

The former ferry marshalling was earmarked to provide the required shoreside space for the teams with their fifty-foot craft and equipment but Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council's anticipation of the return of a busy cruise season at the harbour in 2022 has scuppered this.

The marshalling area, located to the east of the town marina, will be required for buses catering for cruise-line passenger excursions.

Up to 70 cruise liners are expected to berth off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2022 and works commenced this week on a new coach park facility at the site.

The harbour's vacant Carlisle Pier, empty save for occasional visiting Belgian trawlers, was ruled out as 'not big enough', according to sources.

Promoters say each two-day SailGP event is estimated to be worth about €20m to the local economyPromoters say each two-day SailGP event is estimated to be worth about €20m to the local economy

Andrew Thompson, SailGP's chief commercial and financial officer, told the Irish Examiner newspaper last Saturday "SailGP opened its bid process for season 3 – starting 2022 – in March".

"SailGP received an overwhelming response from across the globe"

"Among the cities that approached SailGP is an expression of interest from a bid team from Dublin, Ireland.

"There is no doubt that Ireland would be a fantastic destination to host our annual, global racing league featuring the sport’s best athletes."

While sections of the tiny Irish sailing community are getting behind bids for the two biggest prizes in world yachting, Cork's €190m America's Cup campaign and the Dublin SailGP both are facing major hurdles as Afloat's WM Nixon points out here in relation to the 37th AC.

Cork Harbour is still in the running to host the 2024 America’s Cup yacht race after the organisers extended the venue selection process.

Cork has also been identified as a possible SailGP venue too.

More from The Examiner here

Published in SailGP

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's 2021 Waszp European Slalom & U20 Champion Charlie Cullen was one of 16 young sailors, consisting of multiple World and European Champions from various classes, who were selected to race in last week’s SailGP event in the Saint Tropez, on the French riviera. 

As Afloat reported in August, the result is the fourth international podium for Royal St. George's Cullen this summer in the Waszp class.

The foiling dinghy fleet is partnering with SailGP in their quest to form a pathway for young sailors into the professional ranks and its 'SailGP INSPIRE' programme is used as a  talent identification pathway for young sailors under 21 to gain exposure on the world stage.

While racing was a big part of the week, the young sailors received expert coaching and got up close with some of the world’s best sailors. 

Charlie Cullen (on right, sail number 3) with other Waszp sailors and the French SailGP catamaranCharlie Cullen (on right, sail number 3) with other Waszp sailors and the French SailGP catamaran

“It was a surreal experience, seeing the incredible F50’s up close and learning how they work from the sailors themselves”, Cullen told Afloat. 

The week comprised of training and qualifying races, where the best talent from around France and Europe sailed in a strong breeze and a big swell next to the beautiful shore of Saint Tropez harbour.

After training the sailors had tech discussions with sailing heroes such as Sail GP CEO Russel Coutts and the F50 sailors themselves. 

After a windy and wavy qualifying series, the top 8 sailors prepared for a light wind final series. Non-foiling shifty conditions made the racing extremely tight. Charlie kept a consistent form to finish second overall with Eliot Savelon of the Netherlands taking the win and Eliot Coville of France finishing the podium.

Ireland's Charlie Cullen (second from left) with other SailGP Waszp sailors on the Saint Tropez podiumIreland's Charlie Cullen (second from left above) with other SailGP Waszp sailors on the Saint Tropez podium

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The Japan SailGP Team moved top of the SailGP Season Championship with a fine win in Saint-Tropez, beating the United States and Spain in the Final of the France Sail Grand Prix.

Nathan Outteridge, Driver for the Japanese team, once again lived up to his nickname of the ‘wind whisperer’ by dominating in the light-air conditions, showing incredible consistency across the weekend and then putting in an elite display exactly when it mattered.

Runners-up the United States appeared to be favourites heading into the Final, topping the rankings after the five Fleet Races, but Japan’s dominating performance in the winner-takes-all clash earned them a well-deserved victory.

Following the light-air conditions on Race Day 1, the decision was made ahead of Sunday’s action to debut the new 29 meter wing - which has undergone rigorous testing over the past few weeks - to ensure the F50s were sufficiently powered.

And Outteridge, one of the few athletes to have practised with the wing ahead of racing, made the most of this newly discovered power to skipper Japan to victory in the first Fleet Race of the day.

The United States SailGP Team sit just two points behind first place in the SailGP Season 2 championship standings after an impressive showing at the France Sail Grand Prix. 

The American team narrowly missed out on their first event win of the season, leading the final race for four legs only to have a large shift in the light winds favour the Japan SailGP Team who ultimately claimed victory.

The result moved the team up the overall standings, despite a season plagued by significant adversity. The most recent of which saw Wing Trimmer Paul Campbell-James suffer a broken leg in practice at the previous event in Demark.

Campbell-James staged an incredible three-week recovery to compete in Saint Tropez and help the team navigate a new 29-metre wing for the first time, which debuted across the league’s F50 catamarans. These are the largest wings in SailGP competition and have been designed to provide greater lift in lighter winds.

U.S. SailGP Team Driver Jimmy Spithill said: “It was a great race and a great regatta for our team. It was dynamic – there were lots of minefields on the racecourse and we need to give credit to Japan for sailing a great race. We had our chances to win the race but we’re happy with second overall.”

The two-time America's Cup winner added: “We continue our climb up the overall leaderboard. This is our first event where we did not have an incident on the water involving someone breaking a bone, hitting an object or almost sinking. Things must be turning for the better.”

Sunday’s result came at a crucial time in the SailGP season, with just two more events until the Grand Final at the United States Sail Grand Prix in San Francisco on March 26-27, 2022, where the top three teams overall will compete for the US$1m prize.

The team next heads to Cadiz for the Spain Sail Grand Prix on October 9-10, 2021.

SailGP Season 2 overall standings:

  • Japan SailGP Team (Nathan Outerridge) – 37 pts
  • United States SailGP Team (Jimmy Spithill) – 35 pts
  • Australia SailGP Team (Tom Slingsby) – 35 pts
  • Great Britain SailGP Team (Ben Ainslie) – 34 pts
  • Spain SailGP Team (Phil Robertson) – 31 pts
  • New Zealand SailGP Team (Peter Burling) – 30 pts
  • Denmark SailGP Team (Nicolai Sehested) – 28 pts
  • France SailGP Team (Billy Besson) – 27 pts
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In some of the lightest winds of the season so far, which made foiling a real challenge for the SailGP teams, Japan won both of Saturday's two fleet races to mount a remarkable comeback and qualify for the Final, where they were joined by Australia and Great Britain.

The breeze picked up slightly for the Final, but the 'wind-whisperer' Nathan Outteridge could not overcome rival Slingsby, the Season 1 champion, who celebrated a second successive event win with an on-boat champagne moment

The Brits, meanwhile, rounded out the podium after penalty drama in the Final forced the team to drop behind Japan, though Ainslie and his team were visibly aggrieved at the controversial decision.

Final results

1. Tom Slingsby, AUS, 10 points
2. Nathan Outteridge, JPN, 9
3. Ben Ainslie, GBR, 8
4. Jimmy Spithill, USA, 7
5. Peter Burling, NZL, 6
6. Nicolai Sehested, DEN, 5
7. Phil Robertson, Spain, 4
8. Billy Besson, FRA, 3

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Great Britain SailGP Team CEO and driver Sir Ben Ainslie returned to the wheel of the British F50 today as the team began training ahead of the Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus (August 20-21).

It was an eventful return to action for Ainslie, who had missed the previous two SailGP events to welcome the arrival of his baby son Fox, as he and the British crew broke the SailGP speed record with a top speed of 98.3 km/h (61.1mph/53.1 knots) in strong breeze on the Aarhus waters.

The Great Britain SailGP Team has been joined in Aarhus by Hannah Diamond - the final athlete trialling as part of the league's Women's Pathway Program - before a final decision will be made on which of the female athlete trialists will be joining the team full time. With the previous trialists including the likes of recent Olympic medalists Hannah Mills and Anna Burnet, it will be a tough decision to make for Ben Ainslie and the team.

The ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix is live on Sky Sports from 2 PM BST on Friday, August 20 and from 12 PM BST on Saturday, August 21, and is also free to view on SailGP's YouTube channel.

For full viewing details visit sailgp.com/watch

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