COWES, England – August 8, 2019 – On the first day of official practise racing at the European debut of SailGP in Cowes, Isle of Wight, Great Britain SailGP Team were thrilled to welcome onboard Ollie Ollerton, best known for Channels 4’s SAS; Who Dares Wins.
Knowing that the team had only two days previously won the race to break the elusive 50 knot speed barrier and arriving fresh from a gruelling expedition up Mont Blanc, the ex-SAS military man stated: “I’m super excited to get out as 6th man with the Great Britain SailGP Team on this crazy fast boat – watch this space.”
Sure enough, shortly after Ollerton’s session with Dylan Fletcher and the team on the red, white and blue wingsailed F50 catamaran, the British boys stole the show on the first day of official practise racing at Cowes SailGP.
Following the inaugural Kings Cup regatta – a major sailor event hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in support of their charitable causes – and with a shoreline packed with fans, the Great Britain SailGP Team took the win on both races of the day, coming back twice from a slow start off the line.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with my performance at the start but the team did a great job to get us through to first place. Since New York we’ve got our heads down and have had some fantastic training in the Solent this week. But the main event is this weekend and hopefully we can repeat some of the performance and make some small gains on the start,” said Fletcher, the team’s helm.
With the Australians missing from the line-up today due to a broken wing following a windy practise sail yesterday, the British had their sights set on ‘King of the starts’ Nathan Outteridge and his Japanese team and it wasn’t long before they showed them they mean business.
The stats speak for themselves with an incredible fly time (up on the foils) of 98.84% in race one and 99.2% in race two, and an average top speed of 38.4 knots in just 14 knots of breeze.
“Racing in front of a home crowd makes all the difference. We’re just a stones throw from the shore, so to hear those cheers in the middle of racing just makes us want to push even harder,” said Fletcher.
Returning to the shore, guests sailor Ollie Ollerton said: “I’m hooked! How do I get on the team?!” Perhaps the British team have found their new teammate.
Great Britain SailGP Team get ahead of Nathan Outteridge and Japan SailGP. Photo credit: Lloyd Images
A battle on the water between Dylan Fletcher’s Great Britain SailGP Team and Japan. Photo credit: Lloyd Images
The Cowes SailGP Race Village
Coming to the UK for the first time marks a special moment in time for the Great Britain SailGP Team as Cowes is home to the oldest and largest annual sailing regatta in the world, expecting up to 100,000 spectators throughout the week. As an Official Feature Event of Cowes Week, Cowes SailGP will bring an added level of excitement to the event with supercharged wingsailed catamarans racing in close-quarters at speeds potentially exceeding 50 knots, just off Cowes. The Cowes SailGP Race Village will run along the seafront from the end of the Cowes Green up to Egypt Point. Activities in the Race Village start from 11:30 a.m. each day, with the races taking place from 3-4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Ahead of the spectacular racing, an exciting pre-show will take place, when local sailors will have the chance to share the waters with the F50s and showcase their talents in front of the SailGP Grandstand. Working with the RYA (Royal Yachting Association), the young sailors will go head to head as part of the SailGP Inspire program – SailGP’s community outreach initiative that aims to use sailing as a force for good – which launches at the event.
Saturday 9 August
Statement: We continue to work with relevant experts and authorities to closely monitor the weather forecast for this weekend’s Cowes SailGP. At this time, it is nearly certain that the expected adverse weather will impact our event on Saturday.
While the schedule currently remains as published, we anticipate making a decision regarding Saturday racing by 8 a.m. Friday morning. The safety of every athlete, fan and other stakeholder involved is of the utmost importance and we appreciate the patience of all impacted parties.
SailGP is sailing redefined. Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and San Francisco, SailGP is an annual, global sports championship featuring bold, cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism. The fan-centric, inshore racing takes place in some of the most iconic harbours around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States battle it out in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, engineered for intense racing at electrifying speeds exceeding 50 knots (nearly 60 mph/100 kph). Visit SailGP.com for more information.