The Great Britain Sail Grand Prix takes place in the stunning natural amphitheatre of the Plymouth Sound this weekend, with the British team looking to put on a strong performance for their home crowd.
The Great Britain F50, driven by Olympic gold medalist Paul Goodison (GBR) for the British event, took flight in spectacular conditions on the Plymouth Sound for the first time today in the first official practice session of the week.
“I’m super excited”, Paul said ahead of the first practice day, “walking around today and looking out from the Hoe you can see the wind is in already, the sun is shining, and it looks like fantastic sailing conditions.
“It’s been a long time since I raced on home waters in front of a large crowd, probably London 2012 was the last time, so again I’m just really excited. We’ve got a great team here and really looking forward to flying the Union Jack in front of our supporters.
“We’ve got big expectations for this event, we obviously want to do better than last time and challenge for the podium spots, we’ve got two days of practice and we’re just polishing the things that were a little unpolished in Taranto.”
For their home event, the British team have been joined this week by four female athlete triallists, representing the final Grand Prix of the team’s trials. After Plymouth, one triallist will be selected to join the British team full time. Trialling with the team this week are Ellie Aldridge (GBR), Nicola Boniface (GBR), Hannah Diamond (GBR) and Emily Nagel (GBR). The team was previously joined by Olympic bound sailors Hannah Mills (GBR) in Bermuda and Anna Burnet (GBR) in Taranto.
Speaking about SailGP’s Women’s Pathway Program Emily Nagel, who was previously a Data Analyst with the Great Britain SailGP Team, said: “For me it’s a brilliant initiative. I initially got involved in SailGP because I wanted to one day be a sailor on board. I love the data but that was never my long-term intention.
“It’s not easy as a female sailor to get a lot of opportunities sometimes, especially in the world of foiling. SailGP is creating these opportunities for women to get this experience, so I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands and hoping at the end of the day I manage to get the role, but there’s some very tough competition.”
Earlier in the week, SailGP announced the Impact League, a world-first integrated second leaderboard created for all eight international teams, where they are rewarded for the positive actions they make to reduce their overall carbon footprint and help accelerate inclusivity in sailing.
The Great Britain SailGP Team have been bringing their purpose, to level the global education playing field, to life in Plymouth this week through free live STEM lessons with the Ocean Conservation Trust and the team’s Race For The Future partner STEM Crew in the National Marine Aquarium.
Speaking about the launch of the Impact League Great Britain SailGP Team grinder Rich Mason (GBR) added: “It’s great that the teams are being rewarded for making a positive impact on the planet. As a sailing team we’re committed to sailing, but we are also very committed to racing for the future and a better planet. It’s been brilliant to see STEM Crew with us here in Plymouth too.
“They have been giving live lessons using their online teaching resources for the innovators of the future. The resources are interesting ways of learning about sustainability and how in the future we can save the planet. We can’t wait to get out on the water in Plymouth, we hope to see lots of fans out there, and hopefully we will win!”
With brilliant weather forecasted over the weekend, the ticketed, official spectator area on the Plymouth Hoe is sold out for both days, adhering to government guidelines and SailGP’s own COVID-Safe plan, but boat owners are still invited to take their boat out to watch the racing and can register via SailGP’s Bring Your Own Boat Programme. By registering fans will receive all of the course information and a VHF channel to listen to for all the latest updates.
Fans unable to attend can watch all the action broadcast live in 175 territories, including via SKY Sports in the UK and Ireland as well as live on YouTube. The award-winning SailGP APP – available in the App Store and Google Play – gives the ultimate viewing experience with full customization, access to data, and live commentary.