All eyes on Dubai as SailGP edges closer to Middle East debut

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SailGP heads to the region for the first time for the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

As the sun sets on its event in Cadiz Spain, SailGP, the purpose-driven global racing championship, packs up and heads to the region for the first-ever Dubai Sail Grand Prix Presented by P&O Marinas, which will take place at Mina Rashid, November 12-13.

Having just passed the halfway mark of Season 3, the enthralling on-water racing continues next month in the Middle East to complete the 2022 calendar, where sports fans will see SailGP’s revolutionary F50 foiling catamarans sail at high speeds just minutes away from some of Dubai’s globally recognized attractions. 2023 will then see the league next head to Singapore, Sydney and Christchurch before the Grand Final in San Francisco in May.

The recent final race at the Spain Sail Grand Prix held in Andalucia – Cadiz presented by Near, saw the closest-ever finish to a SailGP event, as Quentin Delapierre led the France SailGP Team to a stunning victory by just three seconds over Jimmy Spithill’s US team to claim its first event win in the championship.

The high-adrenaline event saw tens of thousands of people packed on the shoreline to witness the action-packed weekend of racing between the SailGP national teams – Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United States – as they continue their battle for the winning trophy.

Jimmy Spithill, United States SailGP Team CEO and driver, spoke of the challenging race in Cadiz; “The team was under real pressure going into the last two events, but we have stuck together and it’s given us a lot of belief and a lot of confidence. We are determined to keep this momentum going, and it’s great that we are now much closer to the overall pack on the leaderboard, as we tried to take another step forward ahead of Dubai. It will be the first SailGP foiling event in the Middle East, which is very exciting for us all.”

In SailGP, no race day is the same. As the competition heats up and the teams battle it out on the water for the best performance, both athletes and boats are put to the ultimate test. The final day in Cadiz saw light winds and choppy waters; a combination described by drivers as testing for the F50s foiling boats. Commenting on the event, driver of the Great Britain SailGP Team, Sir Ben Ainslie, said: “Really frustrating result for the team today and a tough way to finish. I felt like we were sailing reasonably well, but concern over damage to the rudder killed our chances for the podium final, but that’s competition. We will try to ensure it’s a different result for us as we come back swinging in Dubai.”

As all sails are set for Dubai, Australia SailGP Team CEO and driver, Tom Slingsby, said: “We are certainly looking forward to racing in the iconic city of Dubai. I haven’t sailed there before myself, but I think the event is going to be amazing and we will then see what the conditions bring.”



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