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Great Britain SailGP Team first to be announced

by Leslie Ryan 3 Oct 2018 12:56 PDT 3 October 2018
Great Britain SailGP team (l-r) Stu Bithell, Chris Draper, Matt Gotrel, Dylan Fletcher & Richard Mason © Ian Roman / Great Britain SailGP

SailGP today set out to redefine sailing with the launch of its new global racing league: five grand prix events featuring six national teams on identical wingsailed F50s – the world's fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.

Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts, in season one, SailGP will bring intensely competitive, high-speed inshore racing to fans in Sydney; San Francisco; New York; Cowes, UK; and Marseille, France, as world-class crews compete for the championship trophy and a $1 million prize.

Great Britain SailGP Team is first of six teams to be announced. The team will be managed by world-class sailor Chris Draper, Olympic bronze medalist with two America's Cup cycles under his belt, most recently as sailing team manager and wing trimmer with SoftBank Team Japan for the 35th America's Cup. Rio 2016 Olympian, current 49er world champion and world No. 1 in the 49er rankings, Dylan Fletcher, will serve as helmsman.

Fletcher said, "It's awesome to be part of SailGP, which provides such a fantastic opportunity to showcase sailing and produce a series of events that push the limits of what sail racing can look like around the globe. This is one of the greatest challenges I have been personally taken on, and I am ready to show that the Great Britain SailGP Team has what it takes to battle out it with the world's best. For me, the best part of this will be the UK event taking place during Lendy Cowes Week in August 2019. Racing in front of the home crowd on home waters - it doesn't get much better than that!"

"Today is such an important milestone for the team," added Draper, CEO for Great Britain SailGP Team. "To announce the new SailGP league and also be the first team to be revealed here in London is a perfect springboard for us. We have put together a really strong and dynamic team – in my opinion a group of natural born winners, very grounded and real, perhaps raw but also confident and ready to deliver for Great Britain. We are looking forward to a thrilling first season in 2019."

SailGP Cowes event

In addition to a Great Britain SailGP Team, a UK event was also announced today that will take place over the first weekend of Lendy Cowes Week 2019 on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August 2019. This spectacular race event will take centre stage in the Solent – partnering with the already world-famous week-long regatta in Cowes – and promises to deliver amazing racing action to the competitors, fans and visitors.

SailGP's Race Village will be set up around the Egypt Point area, which will be the focal point for watching the action, with large screens and live commentary, sports presentations featuring the sailing teams, as well as many activations and exhibits. The racing will take place just off Egypt Point, with a nearby boat spectator area. Full details of the event will be issued at a later date.

"The team at Cowes Week Limited is delighted that SailGP has selected Cowes as one of the five iconic locations around the world to host its new sailing league and have chosen to run the event during the first two days of Lendy Cowes Week 2019," commented Laurence Mead, Lendy Cowes Week Regatta Director. "There's no doubt that many thousands of our competitors and spectators will want to experience these incredible flying boats up close, and with planned courses just off the Green in Cowes, the view from the shore will be absolutely stunning. Everyone at Lendy Cowes Week is looking forward to welcoming SailGP to Cowes and working with their team to ensure that both events are a huge success next August."

ORIGIN Sports Group, founded by Sir Keith Mills, is confirmed as the exclusive UK commercial and marketing partner working with the Great Britain SailGP Team and SailGP's Cowes event. ORIGIN is already working on attracting and securing commercial partners to benefit from association with both assets and will be focusing on building awareness and profile across a strong fanbase and delivering the local operations for the Cowes 2019 event.

Leslie Ryan, Director of Sailing Projects for ORIGIN Sports Group, elaborated on the partnership, "ORIGIN Sports Group is very pleased to be working with SailGP, both for the Great Britain team and the Cowes event. We have no doubt we will succeed in building a huge following and delivering value to world-class commercial brands and sponsors. We are also looking forward to putting on the most amazing event in Cowes in August 2019."

Great Britain SailGP Full Team List:

  • Ben Davis - Boat Builder
  • Chris Draper – Wing Trimmer
  • Dylan Fletcher – Helmsman
  • Henry Woodhouse - Boat Builder
  • Ian Roman - Photographer
  • Joe Glanfield - Coach
  • James Chapman - Chaseboat Driver
  • Stuart Bithell – Flight Controller
  • Matt Gotrel – Grinder
  • Matt Haslam - Shore Team Manager
  • Leslie Ryan - Sponsorship/Communications
  • Rachael Smith - Finance
  • Richard Mason – Grinder
  • Sam Bennett - Diver
  • Wendy Maxwell - Team Administrator
Sailing team biographies can be found at www.sailGP.com

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