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U.S. SailGP Team to bring Foiling First to Chicago's youth sailors

by United States SailGP Team 17 Sep 07:30 PDT September 25-26, 2021
U.S. SailGP Team finish 2nd in the France Sail Grand Prix © Thomas Lovelock for SailGP

The United States SailGP Team have announced they will hold a 'Learn to Foil' camp with the Chicago Yacht Club (CYC), the Jackson Park Yacht Club Foundation (JPYCF) and the Chicago Park District (CPD) September 25-26 in partnership with 'Foiling First' - the breakthrough athlete development program created by the American SailGP Team to advance diversity and inclusion in the sport while building the first ever professional pathway to foiling in the U.S.

Foiling refers to technology used in elite sailing that enables sailboats to lift out of the water on hydrofoils, decreasing drag and allowing them to reach highway speeds.

The two-day introduction to foiling - open to Chicago youth sailors - will launch a long-term partnership between the CYC and Foiling First that uses the excitement of foiling as a catalyst to bring the lakefront together and create inclusive pathways to sailing locally. This initiative is part of SailGP's global #RacefortheFuture purpose-led agenda aimed at championing a better sport and a better planet.

The camp will introduce foiling basics to the youth sailors, coached by U.S. SailGP Team athletes, who compete in highly technical, 50-foot foiling machines that regularly hit 60+ mph speeds - including two-time America's Cup champion, team CEO and driver Jimmy Spithill.

Youth and local sailing coaches will also participate in an educational workshop facilitated by the team's #RacefortheFuture partner RISE, a national nonprofit educating and empowering the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. The workshop will educate participants on the concept of identity, its multifaceted nature and how advancing diversity and inclusion benefits individuals, teams and the sport more broadly.

The CYC has invited youth sailors from the JPYCF and the CPD to participate in the camp, through scholarships made available by the team's #RacefortheFuture partner World Sailing Trust, with the goal of expanding the number of communities participating in changing the face of sailing both short and long-term.

Spithill said: "Since launching Foiling First earlier this season, we've been overwhelmed with the interest it's received from potential partners, especially here in Chicago. As we look at how we can help change our sport, the potential of what we can achieve here in Chicago is incredible and the opportunity is one we couldn't pass up."

CYC Commodore Nick Berberian is thrilled with the opportunity to work with JPYCF and CPD to open sailing opportunities to more Chicago youth. "We jumped at the chance to join with the U.S. SailGP Team and we're excited to partner with Foiling First as we create more inclusive pathways to introduce Chicago youth to the future of sailing."

American boat manufacturer Melges Performance Sailboats, which has partnered with the U.S. SailGP Team and Foiling First, will provide access to the Skeeta and Nikki foiling platforms for the camp. The boats are specially designed to allow new athletes an easy transition between traditional sailing and foiling, facilitating a smooth process for youth to learn how to foil for the first time.

The United States SailGP Team continues to accept applications from sailing organizations interested in joining Foiling First. To learn more and apply to be part of the initiative, please visit foilingfirst.com.

For more information on the U.S. SailGP Team and SailGP's #RacefortheFuture, visit sailgp.com.

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