SailGP returned last weekend with an action-packed start to the season in Bermuda. Season 3 of this captivating competition, proudly supported by Rolex since 2019, is already living up to the promise of being the biggest and most exciting season to date.
Australia continues their winning streak
Australia proved their form this weekend with an impressive victory in the opening event of Season 3, beating Great Britain and debutants Canada in the Bermuda final.
Two-time SailGP Champions Australia got their title defence off to the perfect start at the opening event of Season 3, picking up maximum points with victory in the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess.
An excellent Race Day 2 showing by Tom Slingsby’s side secured them a place in the three-team winner-takes-all Final, in which Great Britain and SailGP debutants Canada were defeated to move the Aussies to the top of the Season Championship with an excellent 10 points.
A strong 10 team line-up
Following the dramatic conclusion to Season 2 in San Francisco in March, the 10 participating countries had little more than five weeks to prepare for the start of the new campaign in Bermuda. Crews used this period to improve fitness, analyse data and ready themselves for an expanded series.
Teams from Canada and Switzerland join Australia – impressive two-time victors – Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.
Superb sailing venues
Each event over the 12-month season has a simple format: two days of explosive action, with five hotly contested fleet races leading to a three-boat final. The competition will visit some of the world’s most renowned sailing locations.
Following the opener in Bermuda, events are scheduled for Chicago (United States), Plymouth (England), Copenhagen (Denmark), Saint-Tropez (France), Cadiz (Spain), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Singapore and Christchurch (New Zealand) before the season culminates once again with the Grand Final in San Francisco in May 2023.
Sir Ben Ainslie, Rolex Testimonee and skipper of the Great Britain SailGP team, is relishing the season ahead:
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of this league. The SailGP circuit is a major milestone in the evolution of yachting. The boats use the most state-of-the-art technology while the competition continues to widen the appeal of sailing. As the teams get better and the circuit gets bigger, its appeal will continue to grow, extending the reach of the sport.”
A brilliant skipper line-up
Ainslie is one of several SailGP skippers rightly defined as sailing legends. Australian Tom Slingsby is helm of his all-conquering national team while compatriots Nathan Outteridge and Jimmy Spithill lead the Japan and United States outfits respectively, with Peter Burling is in charge for his native New Zealand. These characters, who collectively boast multiple Olympic and America’s Cup honours, account for a combined nine Rolex World Sailor of the Year titles and offer exemplary leadership to their immensely talented crews.
SailGP’s legacy credentials are substantial, giving rise to the sobriquet, “Champions for Change”. Initiatives are in place to increase inclusivity and create clear routes for young sailors to develop their talent and careers in sailing.
The Inspire Programme and Women’s Pathway Programme are unique and deliver on the commitment to offer groundbreaking opportunities. The Race for the Future Impact League – defined by a set of social and environmental criteria – aims to ensure sustainability is at the heart of SailGP.
Promoting diversity, sustainability and inclusion are all facets of the championship that resonate with Rolex and with which Ainslie is particularly proud to be associated:
“I don’t think there’s any other sport that’s pushing as hard as SailGP on sustainability and environmental issues. The Impact League is a fantastic example of where we are, not only racing out on the water but racing throughout the whole season to try to find innovative ways of instigating change. Diversity and gender equity are two other huge factors. The opportunities are just growing and growing, both with the Women’s Pathway Programme and the Inspire Programme, making that step up into professional sailing and ultimately into SailGP.”
Recap the best of Season 2.
A natural and supportive partner
Rolex has always been associated with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. The Swiss watchmaker naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting six decades ago and the brand’s enduring partnership now encompasses the most prestigious clubs, races and regattas, as well as towering figures in the sport, including groundbreaking round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester and the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie.
Rolex is the partner to 15 major international events, including SailGP.