Australia’s Tom Slingsby to defend home victory at 2020 season opener
Photo: Bob Martin for SailGP.
Sydney has been announced as the season opener for SailGP in 2020.
Following a hugely successful event earlier this year – when Sydney kicked-off the global league’s inaugural season – SailGP will return to the iconic Australian harbour on February 28 and 29 for the first event of SailGP Season 2. T
SailGP, the annual global championship, currently features teams representing Australia, China, France, Japan, Great Britain and the United States.
SailGP’s 50-foot flying catamarans – the fastest sail racing boats in the world – are piloted by some of the world’s best sailors, including Australian Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby, who is currently leading the inaugural season heading into the Season 1 Grand Final next weekend in Marseille, France. Tom became the first-ever sailor to break 50 knots (100kph) during an action-packed race last month at Cowes SailGP.
“Sailing in front of a home crowd was simply amazing, and something that I had never experienced before at this level,” said Slingsby. “There is nothing more special and motivating for an athlete to have the support of the home crowd, and I am extremely excited that we are returning to Sydney. It’s one of my favorite places to sail and to win this year was the perfect start to our season. We’ll be aiming to make it a repeat victory next year.”
“Sydney was a spectacular venue to launch SailGP earlier this year on every level – the iconic harbor backdrop, the competition, the fans – and we can’t wait to return,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “The teams will be spending the winter testing new wing sails, and other exciting upgrades on the F50s. The boats are getting faster and the teams more competitive, and we expect Sydney will once again be a great natural amphitheater to showcase these incredible athletes and boats.”
More than 22,000 people representing 25 nations turned out to watch Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team win the historic home event on Sydney Harbour in February 2019. Overall, the landmark event reached 96 million people worldwide.
Recognising the benefit of the event – which saw US$21 million spent in relation to Sydney SailGP and a total economic impact of US$18 million – Tourism Australia is supporting SailGP for 2020. Sydney SailGP will help promote Australia as a tourist and major events destination, and drive visitor growth and expenditure.
“It’s fantastic that New South Wales continues to attract major sporting events and we are delighted to welcome SailGP back for the second time,” said Minister for Sport John Sidoti. “I encourage all fans to get out and see the Australia SailGP Team take on the world’s best sailors next February on Sydney Harbour.”
Next week, the SailGP Season 1 Grand Final will take place in Marseille, culminating with the season’s top two teams going head to head for the SailGP Championship trophy and a winner-takes-all US$1 million prize. Following Season 1 events in Sydney, San Francisco, New York and Cowes (UK), Slingsby leads the overall standings by four points ahead of fellow Australian Olympic gold medalist Nathan Outteridge, helm of the Japan SailGP Team. Tickets are available at SailGP.com/Marseille.
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