Déjà Vu In Denmark
Yacht Style|Issue 61
Halfway into SailGP’s second season, a familiar pattern begins to emerge. Australia, runaway winners of the first series, again top the table, despite having to sit out one of the four events held so far with gear failure.
Bruce Maxwell

The Tom Slingsby-skippered side are on 32 points, ahead of Great Britain (30), Japan (28), United States (26), France (24), New Zealand (23), Spain (23), and Denmark (22), with wrapup regattas listed for Saint-Tropez in September, Andalusia Spain in October, Sydney in December and San Francisco next March.

Christchurch New Zealand had been on the books for late January, but the New Zealand Government has just declined to make a requested 170 covid isolation slots available to enable that venue to go ahead.

Sydney was also sailed in March 2020 as the first event of season two, but the results were canceled as covid took hold, and SailGP restarted in Bermuda in April this year, followed by Taranto Italy in June, Plymouth England in July, and Aarhus Denmark late August.

The series began when American billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle lost the 35th America’s Cup to New Zealand in Bermuda in 2017, and rather than re-challenge, he decided to start his own series using the same foiling 50-foot catamarans. A long-time consultant, the former Kiwi AC helm Russell Coutts, took over as organizer.

The events are billed as a “global yachting league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the world” and the idea is that countries or ports gradually accept sponsorship of boats that Ellison himself partly underwrote in season one, for a nominal winner-takes-all US$1 million prize. Oracle is promoted on the sails of every boat.

The problem in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, was, like some other venues, including Taranto, that the racing took place too close inshore, in an attempt to be fan-friendly, and this resulted in a light, fluky, and wildly shifting airs wafting past shoreside structures, and turning SailGP into a complete lottery.

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