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Roads and Maritime prepares for Australia's first ever Sail GP event on Sydney Harbour

by Penny Robins 14 Feb 15:17 PST
Sydney. Austrailia. Pictures of the GBR Sail GP team in action with the fleet on the first day of practise racing their F50 foiling catamarans. © Mark Lloyd

Roads and Maritime Services will rely on up to the minute wind and condition forecasts to plot the race course and provide on-water traffic management for supercharged catamarans during the first high speed Sail GP event on Sydney Harbour starting today.

Sail GP - sailed in catamarans known as Foiling 50s - is a high speed sailing event involving six 50ft foiling catamarans exceeding speeds of 50 knots, or nearly 100 km/h. This is the inaugural event in a new series which will travel the world going to five locations in 2019.

NSW Maritime's Principal Manager Sydney Chris Doolin said Sail GP is a spectacular event for Sydney Harbour which brings with it unique challenges for on water-traffic management with exclusion zones designed to allow ferries and commercial vessels to operate at reduced speed in narrow channels and reduce impact on other harbour users where possible.

"This is a spectacular aquatic event for Sydney Harbour and will be thrilling for participants and spectators alike," Mr Doolin said.

"Roads and Maritime's role is to ensure the safety of other water users during the event through safe and efficient on water traffic management.

"This event provides a unique challenge for on-water management as it will be the first time in Sydney exclusions zones will rely on last-minute weather forecasts to map out the course, rather than a fixed plotted course.

"This will ensure the best possible conditions for the racing."

Mr Doolin said the Sail GP event will take place over two days on Sydney Harbour starting this afternoon.

"The Sail GP supercharged catamarans will have their first spectacular high speed race on Sydney Harbour between 3pm and 6pm on Friday 15 February," Mr Doolin said.

"The racing will continue on Saturday 16 February between 2pm and 5pm.

"We want everyone to enjoy the event, but we need to ensure they do so safely. If you are on Sydney Harbour please follow instructions from Roads and Maritime, emergency services and Sail GP officials."

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