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Friday, February 26, 2021
SailGP: Opportunities for High-Performance Female Sailors

Season 2 of SailGP will feature eight global events from April 2021 to March 2022 and the competition has boosted its focus on gender equity by creating opportunities for high-performance female sailors.

The racing will start in Bermuda on April 24th and 25th, before the teams meet will square off in events across three continents and the season concludes with a Grand Final in March 2022.

The Grand Final will take place in San Francisco and the champion will be determined in a single $1 million winner-takes-all final.

This season, after racing in 2020 was suspended, is much anticipated. New Zealand will be making their league debut and their team will be led by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

Jimmy Spithill will be piloting a new-look US team for the first time, Nathan Outteridge leads Japan's challenge and Sir Ben Ainslie will race his first full season at the helm of the British charge.

Tom Slingsby's Australian outfit are the reigning champions with crews from Denmark and Spain also set for their first full Sail GP seasons.

Ahead of the new season, the competition has also stated its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. SailGP's immediate focus is on the 'advancement of gender equity and racial diversity'.

SailGP will be adding one female athlete to each team and the overarching aim of their gender equity initiative, is to 'fast-track the development of top female sailors to race on F50s and perform at the highest level'. The initiative is being driven by the SailGP Women's Committee.

The committee includes the three-time Olympian and Ocean Race winner Carolijn Brouwer, Maria del Mar de Ros, the CEO of Spain's SailGP team and Emily Nage, an Ocean Race participant, data analyst and Great Britain SailGP team member.

"This is a big step forward for women in professional sailing," Brouwer said.

"SailGP is accelerating the inclusion and creating the opportunity for high-performance female sailors to compete alongside their male peers, in the world's most advanced sailing league. This type of initiative will allow us to achieve true gender equity in the future."

In the recent announcement of New Zealand's SailGP team, Liv Mackay and Erica Dawson were named as their two athletes who will be immersed in their team for the opening event in Bermuda.

After their pre-season training and development in Bermuda, at least one of Mackay and Dawson will be selected to join the team for the rest of SailGP Season 2. Programmes to select athletes for all of the teams are ongoing and already, they're showcasing the wealth of female talent in the sport.

"This not only provides a career pathway to professional female sailors but it also will inspire the next generation of young athletes coming up the ranks, who get to see women competing on these F50s, and can work towards this," Lisa Darmanin, said after being part of the Australian team's invitational camp at Woollahra Sailing Club in Sydney.
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