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SailGP: Strong winds delay first outing for NZSailGP team in their new F50

by James Rigby, NZSailGP 21 Apr 17:33 PDT 22 April 2021
NZSailGP launch their F50 Amokura in Bermuda - April 20, 2021 ahead of the Second Series of the SailGP © NZSailGP

New Zealand SailGP Team co-CEOs Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have credited the extraordinary work of the entire team in getting the brand new F50 ready in time for the season-opening Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess this weekend.

After the official launch of the boat yesterday, the team was looking forward to getting out for its first sailing session on its new boat today, however due to strong winds the team opted not to sail, instead using the time to perform a tow test and systems checks.

New Zealand SailGP Team co-CEO Blair Tuke said: “It would have been good to sail today, but the weather wasn’t right and that’s all part of sailing. We’ve been lucky to get four good training days on other boats, and the priority for us now is to ensure our boat is ready to race this weekend and as a sailing team we continue to upskill as quickly as we can.”

“To even get to this point where our F50 is built and ready to go in time is remarkable really. It’s been a huge effort from the beginning, starting with the boat build at Core Builders in New Zealand to the tech team finishing it off here in Bermuda.”

Co-CEO Peter Burling said: “The whole team has worked so hard for us to reach this milestone. When we do get to sail our F50 for the first time I’m sure it will be incredibly exciting and rewarding for everyone involved, not just the sailors onboard.”

Adorning the New Zealand SailGP Team F50 is a blue fern as a proud symbol of Aotearoa’s identity. The distinctive blue colour scheme demonstrates the team’s connection to Tangaroa (guardian of the ocean) and a window through to the ocean the team races on and for.

The connection to the ocean is particularly important as it demonstrates the kaupapa the New Zealand SailGP Team has with Live Ocean, its official Race For the Future charity partner. Through its partnership with Live Ocean, the team aims to bring awareness to the critical role a healthy ocean plays in a healthy future.

Burling said: “Not only does the F50 look awesome but it also highlights our pride in representing Aotearoa and is a powerful way to take the important message of ocean restoration and protection to the world.”

The New Zealand SailGP Team has named its F50 ‘Amokura’.

The Maori name for a red-tailed tropicbird, Amokura was gifted to the New Zealand SailGP Team by waka expert and navigator Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr who has been involved alongside Live Ocean with the new team’s journey in preparation to represent New Zealand for the first time in the SailGP league.

Live Ocean chief executive Sally Paterson said: “This is a hugely proud moment for Live Ocean as charity partner for the team. To see Peter, Blair and the rest of the team take the ambition for a healthy ocean to the world stage but to anchor it so strongly in Aotearoa New Zealand is really, really special.”

The team now has just two days remaining to get up to speed with its new F50 before taking on some of the world’s best sailors including Tom Slingsby (AUS), Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Jimmy Spithill (USA) and Nathan Outteridge (JPN).

The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess will be broadcast live on Sky Sport, starting at 5am NZT on Sunday April 25.

For more information visit SailGP.com/watch

SAILGP SEASON 2 SCHEDULE

April 24-25, 2021 Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess June 5-6, 2021 Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto July 17-18, 2021 Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth August 20-21, 2021 ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Aarhus September 11-12, 2021 France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez October 9-10, 2021 Spain Sail Grand Prix | Cádiz - Andalusia January 29-30, 2022 New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch March 26-27, 2022 United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)

ABOUT SAILGP SailGP races for a better future, championing a world powered by nature. The sport’s pinnacle league, SailGP features national teams battling in short, intense races at iconic stadium-style venues across the globe, building to the grand final – and sailing’s top prize of US$1 million. The high-tech, high-speed action features sailing’s best athletes racing in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, flying at electrifying speeds exceeding 60 mph/100 kph. Visit SailGP.com for more information.

ABOUT LIVE OCEAN Live Ocean is a marine conservation charity founded by sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke to amplify and accelerate positive ocean action in Aotearoa New Zealand. As sailors and all-round ocean lovers, they are bringing their ambition and competitive spirit to step up to the challenge to protect and restore our oceans. Live Ocean partners with promising people and projects with a focus on marine science, innovation and public education. www.liveocean.com or @itsliveocean

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