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SailGP arrives in Sydney Harbour this month

SailGP takes over Sydney Harbour from 28-29 February

After Australia took out season one in 2019, SailGP returns for a second season, beginning right here in Sydney Harbour.

National pride is on the line, with Australia, France, Spain, Great Britain, Japan, Denmark, and the United States all competing in the head-to-head format.

Australia’s Tom Slingsby is back to defend his Championship title in front of his home crowd. The Aussie became the first-ever sailor to crack 50 knots (100km/ph) last year and will be looking to go even faster this time around.

What’s new in season two of SailGP?

The 2020 edition of SailGP will see stronger teams, quicker boats, and an extended field with both Denmark and Spain joining the competition.

There will now be seven national teams in the fleet, with reigning Champions Australia looking to go back-to-back.

One of the new faces fans we’ll see is Sir Ben Ainslie, the most-accomplished sailor out of Great Britain, taking over as helmsman of the British side.

It’s not just the competition that has improved, with the cutting-edge boats undergoing modifications to ensure they are faster than ever.

A new modular wingsail, able to be adjusted to heights from 18 to 24 metres (dependent on wind conditions), ensures boats can adapt to a wider range of conditions.

Season two of SailGP returns in February

Speaking about the speed of the boats, the helm of the Japan team Nathan Outteridge says, “When you are doing 45 knots of boat speed, the F50 feels like it has a lot of grip and handles nicely.

“When you are pushing it in the high 40s and hit 50, the water is boiling on the foils because it goes so fast and the response of the boat is not so good. Anything over that can be pretty catastrophic.

“Under 30 knots it’s actually really tame and almost a bit boring. As soon as you get over 30, you really need to be switched on. Over 40 and you really need two hands on the wheel. When it gets to 50 knots, your knuckles start to go white. You are on the very edge.”

Who can win it?

Australia will head in as the red-hot favourites, with Tom Slingsby at the helm, keeping the same crew from their season one victory.

SailGP
Tom Slingsby and the Australian team took out season one of SailGP.

The addition of Ainslie puts Britain in a brilliant position to challenge the Aussies, also pinching Iain Jensen and Luke Parkinson from Japan this season.

The United States, led by Rome Kirby, are confident of shrugging off last year’s poor form and turning around their season two campaign, with helmsman Kirby saying, “The way I look at it, we just spent the past four months learning and getting stronger. We’ll let our performance on the water speak for itself.”

Denmark and Spain are both newcomers, with Spain garnering the higher expectations as they pinch Phil Robertson as interim helmsman. Robertson took control of the China team in season one, lifting the surprise package to third overall.

Where to watch Sydney SailGP

The racing will be centre stage on Sydney Harbour, and there are plenty of places to watch all of the action.

Tickets for Shark Island, in the middle of the harbour, are available, offering brilliant views with either a Friday, Saturday or two-day pass available, starting at just $132* including return ferry transfers to the Island.

If you would prefer to be on the water, jump on a spectator boat in the Harbour, starting at just $106*, again available for Friday, Saturday or both days.

There is also the option to grab a Behind the Scenes Tour, available from Monday 17 to Thursday 27 February.

Held at Cockatoo Island, the exclusive tour heads behind the scenes at the SailGP technical base, as you get up close to the world-class athletes and shore teams.

Witness them make their final preparations as they get ready to race in the world’s fastest sailing boats.

With tickets available to watch the action on land, in the water, or behind the scenes, all bases really are covered.

SailGP transforms Sydney Harbour on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 February, make the most of the leap year and grab your tickets to witness world-class sailing now at Ticketmaster.com.au.

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