Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, has been selected to host SailGP’s Season 2 European debut when the global league’s events restart in 2021. Following the season opener in San Francisco in April and New York SailGP in June, the championship will return to UK shores July 17-18 for the third event in Season 2, featuring the world’s fastest sail racing.
The racing between competing nations will take place on Plymouth Sound in partnership with Plymouth City Council, with support from Associated British Ports, English Cities Fund and Sutton Harbour Group. Plymouth SailGP will also form part of the city’s Mayflower 400 commemorations, marking the anniversary of the signature voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to America. Plymouth was selected following a competitive six-month-long bid process involving five other UK cities.
The UK event in SailGP Season 1 – which was witnessed by 24,000 spectators and delivered US$24 million in economic impact to the community while reaching a total global audience of 231 million – saw some of the most dramatic scenes of the year. In front of packed crowds, the U.S. SailGP Team capsized in spectacular fashion, and both Great Britain and Australia made history by eclipsing speeds never before seen in sail racing. A renowned sailing venue, Plymouth is expected to bring similar excitement for fans, who will be able to view the thrilling action from the water or shore.
New for British fans in Season 2 will be the addition of the New Zealand SailGP Team to the line-up of world-class sailors and top sailing nations. Among the league stars is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, who will give the home crowd something to cheer about at the British event.
“For us as a British team there is nothing better than racing in front of a home crowd and we are incredibly excited about the prospect,” says Ainslie. “There is an element of nostalgia for me personally, having grown up and learned to sail in the West Country and now all these years later coming back to race on the international stage. Plymouth is a fantastic sailing venue with a natural amphitheatre for the fans to watch these amazing F50s.”
“Plymouth is a city that shares a lot of the same DNA as SailGP, with a strong focus on marine technology and well aligned with our sustainability objectives,” says SailGP CEO, Sir Russell Coutts. “It also provides great viewing opportunities for spectators, who can view the racing from an elevated position on Plymouth Hoe. We look forward to staging a fantastic event and working with Plymouth City Council to ensure we leave a positive lasting impression and legacy in the city.”