After a break of six weeks, the SailGP program continues in Dubai. The Swiss team ended up around captain Sebastian Schneiter on the podium in one of three races.
In the third race, Switzerland finished third and scored eight points. In the first two races, the team surrounding captain Sebastian Schneiter finished fifth and seventh, respectively, with Canada, Great Britain, and the USA winning.
Thanks to good results, the Swiss team is now sixth in the World Cup standings, while the British are ahead of the United States and New Zealand.
What is SailGP anyway?
SailGP is the world’s fastest sailing league and thus guarantees stunning visuals. At SailGP, the pros compete on the F50 catamaran – these are high-tech racing machines that literally fly over water. Or, as commentator Gerhard Lenoyer put it in front of the first Grand Prix: “A whole new world on water.”
In the phone conversation, Lenoir explained that people also like to talk about Formula 1 on the water. “They have 20-25 km/h winds on site. This is a wind we all know makes trees burn a little bit. And with this wind, they drive 80 km/h.” This is a quantum leap compared to the past few years. Sailing boats, which move up and down the water at a speed of 20 km / h, have been developed into boats that, thanks to new technologies, can be lifted out of the water and are much faster.
In addition, viewers can be closely located. “Sailing used to have a go signal, then they sailed for miles in the sea or lake and came back an hour and a half later. Now everything is close to shore, with a great backdrop, the spectators are right there and they see the boats from 50 meters away. It’s incredible.”
What does the race weekend look like?
“The races are designed to last no more than 20 minutes. There are three races a day. All the boats move back and forth very fast through the track, to the finish and that’s it. So amazing and really cool.”
Are they big prize money or are you investing more than you earn?
“You can only get involved if you have patrons who are obsessed with sailing, like Ernesto Bertarelli with Larry Ellison of the Swiss company Oracle or Larry Ellison,” says Lenoir. At the end of the Sailing Premier League, there will be a million prize money for the winning boat. However, this amount is only a “drop in the ocean” and does not even begin to cover development costs. “But a million always looks good,” says Lenoir.
All participants are professional sailors who are paid to participate in the tour. In addition, they are also in other boating classes, so there is turmoil in the field of World Cup starters and Olympic participants and many of them will also participate in the most famous America’s Cup or have been contracted for the Vendée Globe. “So the professional sailors are doing really well.”
Where are the races held?
On weekends, the entourage stops in Dubai. It’s seventh out of eleven spots in the third season of the still young but promising sport. The tournament started in Bermuda in May 2022 and will end in San Francisco in May 2023. You can see the other locations in the image below.
How is the participant domain configured?
The World Championships bring together the best athletes in the sport. A Swiss team also participated in the beginning of the current season. Competitors come from Canada, Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the USA.
What are the roles on the boat?
On the one hand there is the helmsman. “You have to be perfectly fit, fully tensioned in your head, not to let the boat fall off the chips. Otherwise you will lose important seconds to get it back.” A very difficult task at this speed and with all the other boats in the course. The helmsman must be able to count in Full on the navigator and strategist, who sees where the best winds are and then, as it were, dictates the way.
Then there is the engine room. “There are only poor bastards who have to turn the crank to charge the power that moves the boat,” Lenoir says in a cheery voice. Sails and shims cannot be moved manually as they used to, since they are controlled by a hydraulic system. This hydraulic system needs power. And this energy comes from the treadmills, that’s what they call the ones on the forearm. These are the ones who stubbornly do their job. Crank, crank, crank. “
We hope you are now ready for a different sailing weekend. You can enjoy it and you don’t even have to touch the crank.
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