Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops 2022 May LEADERBOARD

SailGP: Of Flight Controllers, Drivers, Wing Trimmers, Grinders and things

by SailGP 12 Jan 01:32 PST 12 January 2022
Japan SailGP Team helmed by Nathan Outteridge in action 4 Race Day 2. Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG. 18 December 2021. © Bob Martin/SailGP

SailGP's cutting-edge F50 catamaran is a technological marvel and only the most elite athletes can fly one of these boats, which hit speeds of nearly 100 km/h (62 mph) in the perfect conditions.

The crew have to be at the top of their game each time they race the F50, but do you actually know what each of the people onboard are doing on the boat to ensure it flies across the waves?

For those SailGP fans not so up to speed with the intricacies of the F50, we join Japan SailGP Team Driver Nathan Outteridge for a brief explanation of each role on the F50.

Driver “The main thing the Driver does on the boat is make the decision where to go on the racecourse," says Outteridge. "They communicate to the crew what the plan is.

“Furthermore, most of the skippers in the teams, myself included, are heavily involved in the logistics of the event.”

Flight Controller Outteridge continues: “The Flight Controller is responsible for keeping the boat in the air. Every time the boat touches the water is a time the Flight Controller has made a mistake.

“He needs to keep the boat flat and keep the boat locked in going fast. He needs to have a very good relationship with the Driver and Wing Trimmer to make sure the boat is locked in and going quick.”

Wing Trimmer “The Wing Trimmer needs to have a really good understanding of how to generate power, and how to distribute that power on the boat," says Outteridge.

Japan teammate Chris Draper, who trims the wing on the F50, adds: “I can basically control all the power in the boat at any one moment.

"I have to put the wing in the right shape and communicate to Nathan the best modes to sail to get to the goal as quickly as possible.”

Grinder “At the front of the boat we have two Grinders positioned," finishes Outteridge. "One Grinder faces forward and one Grinder faces backwards. Both of the Grinders at the front are turning the handle for the winch to make sure we can trim the wing sheet as effectively as possible.

“Leo Takahashi is our primary No.1 Grinder and he faces forward, and Yuki Kasatani is grinding facing backwards. He’s looking at [Wing Trimmer] Chris Draper in the eyes and making sure he knows what Chris needs in terms of the amount of power.

“He also has to be very brave, because he’s going round the racecourse extremely fast facing backwards, so he has to have a lot of trust in the guys behind him.”

Learn more about the crew roles on one of SailGP's cutting-edge F50s by watching the below video

Related Articles

Great Britain Sail Grand Prix highlights video
Masterful racing from Team NZ on the iconic waters of Plymouth Sound The third event of Season 3 ended with New Zealand claiming its first ever win during a weekend of masterful racing on the iconic waters of Plymouth Sound. Posted on 3 Aug
SailGP: Ainslie Incident - what the Umpires saw
SailGP: Ainslie Incident - what the Umpire saw in the controversial Race 5 finish An incident close to the finish of Race 5 of SailGP Great Britain determined whether local hero, Ben Ainslie or his nemesis Tom Slingsby (AUS) would go through to contest the Final, in front of Ainslie's home crowd. Posted on 2 Aug
SailGP: Ainslie reacts - "Send him to the Tower!"
Ainslie suggested, only half-jokingly, that the Duchess of Cambridge should “send him to the Tower" A frustrated Sir Ben Ainslie Ainslie suggested, only half-jokingly, that the watching Duchess of Cambridge should “send him [Chief Umpire Craig Mitchell] to the Tower” after the Brits copped controversial penalty at the end of Race 5. Posted on 1 Aug
Great Britain Sail Grand Prix overall
Regal display from New Zealand SailGP Team sees it triumph in first ever SailGP event final Peter Burling breaks Australia's stranglehold on SailGP Season 3 with masterful display on Plymouth Sound after first battling the Duchess of Cambridge. Posted on 31 Jul
SailGP: Kiwis win tense Final in Plymouth
The Peter Burling and Blair Tuke led NZSailGP team win their first ever SailGP Final, The NZSailGP team won their first ever SailGP Final, dominating two of three tense races on Plymouth Sound. The Kiwis fought hard in difficult wind pressure as the F50's dropped on and off their foils, requiring careful boat positioning. Posted on 31 Jul
Great Britain Sail Grand Prix day 1
New Zealand stuns field in front of packed Plymouth shoreline Peter Burling and his New Zealand SailGP Team produced one of the most impressive days seen on the water in SailGP, taking 28 points from a possible 30 on day one of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth. Posted on 30 Jul
SailGP: Dockwalk at Plymouth with Lisa Darmanin
Lisa Darmanin walks through the pit-zone at SailGP grabbing the key players for an unscripted chat Join host and Olympic Silver medalist Lisa Darmanin, in a new feature for SailGP where she walks through the pit-zone at SailGP grabbing the key players for an unscripted chat to get their impressions of what is coming up at SailGP Great Britain. Posted on 30 Jul
Sir Ben Ainslie looks to kickstart season
With Great Britain Sail Grand Prix win on home waters in Plymouth After two wins from two events and with two championships from two seasons, Tom Slingsby and the Australia SailGP Team remain the firm focus of the other eight drivers ahead of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth this weekend. Posted on 29 Jul
Media Conference SailGP Great Britain
Skippers react to questions over the interjection by coaches to their crews while racing. The media conference was notable for the reaction of the skippers, in the second group, to questions about whether they had used the option of receiving communication from their coaches during racing, and their views on the use of the outside assistance. Posted on 29 Jul
Rate of change still slow in Womens Pro Sailing
Liv Mackay: In the thrilling, supercharged world of foiling, women need to leap on every opportunity In the thrilling, supercharged world of foiling, women need to leap on every opportunity on the water, writes top Kiwi sailor Liv Mackay, to ensure female professional sailing keeps heading in the right direction Posted on 29 Jul
Armstrong-Logo-Only-728x90 gif BOTTOMRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTER