Special Event status ensures the world governing body formally recognises and sanctions the event.
Over the course of the 11-year partnership, SailGP sanction fees will be invested back into the sport to support World Sailing’s development initiatives.
World Sailing will support SailGP with promotional and marketing activities as well as supporting the World Sailing Race Officials overseeing the event. SailGP will be held under World Sailing’s Racing Rules of Sailing and Regulations, with World Sailing overseeing in particular the anti-doping and nationality rules.
Founded and owned by Larry Ellison, SailGP’s day-to-day operations are overseen by CEO Sir Russell Coutts. The new property sets out to redefine sailing with five global grands prix featuring six national teams on identical wingsailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.
Five-person teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States of America will compete in the inaugural season.
In season one, SailGP will bring inshore racing to the following locations:
- Sydney, Australia – 15-16 February
- San Francisco, USA – 4-5 May
- New York, USA – 21-22 June
- Cowes, Great Britain – 10-11 August
- Marseille, France – 20-22 September
Each event will be comprised of two competition days with five fleet races culminating in a final match race between the two leaders to decide the victor. The final in Marseille will feature a winner-take-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.
“World Sailing is thrilled to be working with SailGP to bring a new, exciting and fan friendly elite racing league to life,” said Hunt. “SailGP is an ambitious project that is spearheaded by an incredible forward thinking leadership team. We’re excited about SailGP’s commitment to innovate and advance the sport forward and by working in partnership, we will aim to inspire millions more people to fall in love with sailing.”
“SailGP distills all of the most successful, exciting and relevant elements of high-performance, professional racing, while adding the extra edge that comes with nation-versus-nation competition,” said Coutts, SailGP CEO. “We are aiming to be pioneers of new technologies, boat design, commercial partnerships and global audience engagement. But with every crew on the same groundbreaking F50 catamaran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ultimate test to establish the best sailing team in advanced foiling catamarans.”
The new F50 boats will begin launching in Marsden Point, New Zealand, later this month, with the inaugural race to set sail on 15 February in Sydney.
SailGP becomes World Sailing’s seventh Special Event joining the Volvo Ocean Race, Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour, PWA World Your, Star Sailors League and the Global Kitesports Association’s freestyle world tours.