Photography by Sam Greenfield
SailGP has updated its schedule for the first half of its second season, with the opening events now set for the island of Bermuda and the southern Italian city of Taranto.
From 24–25 April 2021, the Bermuda Grand Prix will set the stage for an expanded season that is planned to feature nine events. Following the opener, the first-ever Italy Grand Prix will be held from 5–6 June in Taranto.
Though San Francisco and New York were initially set to host the first events following SailGP’s Season 2 postponement due to COVID-19, the league shifted the schedule to ensure greater certainty and reduce travel in the early part of the year. The United States Grand Prix in San Francisco will now serve as the SailGP Season 2 Grand Final and is planned to take place in April 2022.
Bermuda was chosen because organisers determined that the country has been largely shielded from the pandemic, due to its successful health and safety measures. Bermuda played host to the 35th America’s Cup in 2017, providing a spectacular playing field for the competition that first featured the foiling catamarans that evolved into the F50 used for SailGP.
Prior to the season start, SailGP’s eight national teams – Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States – will use the stunning blue waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound to hone their skills during a pre-season training camp. And, for the first time, female athletes will be included in the training as part of SailGP’s gender equity initiative.
Following the league’s restart in Bermuda, SailGP will shift to Europe – where four of its eight national teams are based – for a series of five grand prix events beginning in Taranto.
The Great Britain Grand Prix in Plymouth will then take place from 17–18 July, followed by the ROCKWOOL Denmark Grand Prix in Aarhus on 20–21 August. Two additional European host cities will be announced with the remaining season schedule in early December.
SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said, “After our successful opening season in 2019, cities have taken notice of SailGP, recognising the economic potential and international exposure that comes with hosting our global events, as well as the community impact of our Race for the Future purpose-driven agenda.”
Coutts continued, “We’re incredibly pleased that our venue partner portfolio has expanded to include events in Bermuda and Italy. Both venues should provide excellent conditions for our high speed, close-to-shore racing.”
“This new schedule allows us to plan our first events of 2021 with more confidence while still retaining a US event at the end of the season.”
In its inaugural season, SailGP attracted a global broadcast audience exceeding 256 million and an average economic impact of US$23 million per venue, boosting local hotels, restaurants and businesses.