Adorned with its bold, brand-new USA graphics, the United States SailGP Team’s F50 high-performance catamaran splashed onto on the waters of Sydney Harbour for the first time in preparation for SailGP’s inaugural event, set for Sydney Harbour on February 15-16.
During the first instalment of the SailGP championship season, the U.S. SailGP Team, led by veteran helmsman Rome Kirby, looks to make its mark facing off against five other national teams – Australia, China, Great Britain, France and Japan.
Backing that effort, the team announced today that Taylor Canfield, World Match Racing Tour champion and helmsman for the 36th America’s Cup challenger, Stars + Stripes Team USA, has joined the young, talented squad as flight controller/tactician.
“Taylor is a great addition to the team, not only for his world-class experience, but for his competitive intensity on the water and laid-back style on land. He is a great fit for our team,” said Kirby.
In addition to his America’s Cup pursuit, Canfield has been been ranked the No. 1 match racer in the world for three of the past five years.
“This team is a great group of extremely talented sailors, whom I’ve raced with or against many times,” said Canfield. “The SailGP concept is incredible and what this sport has needed for a long time. To be racing at the top level of the sport, at extreme speeds against the best in the world – I can’t wait.”
Of the six teams competing in SailGP, the American squad is the youngest, however the talented squad of Kirby (29), Canfield (30), Dan Morris (31), Mac Agnese (24), Hans Henken (26) and Riley Gibbs (22) has stacked between them multiple world championship wins, and numerous America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns to their credit. Agnese, Gibbs and Henken are currently campaigning in hopes to quality for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The teams will compete in the F50 catamaran, the fastest and most technologically advanced race boat in the world, capable of speeds exceeding 50 knots (60 mph).
The U.S. SailGP Team will take on the rival teams for a true nation-versus-nation battle culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race at the final in Marseille, France.
“I think people will be amazed – regardless if they understand sailing or not,” said Kirby. “Imagine six boats flying over the water at 60 mph and jockeying for position to all be first around each mark of the course. No one – sailors or spectators – has ever experienced or watched these incredible speeds before in sailboat racing. Exciting will be an understatement.”