SailGP’s F50 crowned Boat of the Year by World Sailing
by SailGP October 30, 2019 08:08 UTC
SailGP’s F50 crowned World Sailing Boat of the Year © SailGP
As SailGP prepares to kick off its second season in 2020, the World Championship continues to be recognized for its successful debut. Today the F50 catamaran – the fastest sailing racing boat in the world – has been awarded as Goslings Boat of the Year 2019 by World Sailing, hailed for its innovative concepts and ground-breaking, face-changing technological advances sports around the world.
The World Sailing Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing and were held at the annual World Sailing Conference in Bermuda. SailGP has also been shortlisted in two other categories: the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award and the Hempel Team of the Year Award, which recognizes Australia SailGP Team’s performance in Season 1.
SailGP rules require each team to race with the same technology. The SailGP design and build team is thus able to introduce new developments over the course of a season, but these must be applied equally across all teams. Throughout the five Grand Prix events of Season 1, there were a number of highlights for the new World League with the F50s reaching speeds never before seen in competition. Memorable moments include Tom Slingsby’s Australian team making history breaking the 50 knot speed barrier competing at the Cowes event, capsized by the American and British teams in New York and at Cowes, and a spectacular final race of the SailGP Season 1 Championship, in which the The final duel was reduced to just 78 centimeters at a crucial moment on the racecourse before the Australian team took the inaugural victory.
“After a successful first season of SailGP, it is great validation to see years of strategic development and execution being recognized in the industry with the F50 earning this accolade,” SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said. . “The F50s produced spectacular races and we ended the season with all teams winning at least one race. Continuous development and innovation, incredible speeds and tight nation-on-nation races help us stand out. The F50’s incredible performance plays a vital role in delivering an unparalleled sports experience to a global audience.”
Industry veteran Mike Drummond has been engaged by SailGP to lead design innovations around the F50, working in consultation with some of the most respected names in foiling and aero design to develop the cutting-edge technology. Construction of the F50 was carried out by Core Composites in New Zealand and involved 135,000 man hours to ensure the fleet of six F50s were ready for SailGP Season 1, with three of the boats being completely new builds.
The F50 received the Boat of the Year award as it undergoes exciting design and engineering updates to ensure it remains at the cutting edge of the sport. Currently, revolutionary new modular wings are being built. A one-of-a-kind system, the wing comprises four modular sections that vary in size and can be built together in different combinations to produce a canopy of various lengths, from 18 meters at the shortest, to 29 meters high, to allow F50 to compete in a wide range of weather conditions. The smallest wing configuration, at 18 meters, is made up of just two of the sections, making the F50 more maneuverable but faster in stronger winds. By combining the four modular wing sections, the wing extends up to 29 meters high, five meters higher than what existed for Season 1, and will improve performance in lighter winds.
A total of three different wing sail sizes can be fitted and swapped overnight to ensure teams have the best setup for the conditions. In all configurations, sections have a bolt-on detail for structural connection, while hydraulic and electronic systems have quick-connect features at the end of each section to allow quick assembly and disassembly. True to the one-design philosophy, the boats will always compete with the same sail configuration. As well as being able to sail in a wider range of speeds and wind conditions, opening up additional site options for SailGP, vital weight savings have been achieved, with a more advanced structure and the elimination of rigging and cables inside the hollow structure of the wing, adding further performance gains in light winds. The new wings will make their debut at the San Francisco SailGP, May 2-3, 2020.
A seventh boat is also under construction and new foils are being tested during the off-season. Sea trials will take place in December with a short sailing period for teams in January ahead of SailGP Season 2, which kicks off in four months. Unlike most one-design classes, SailGP designers and engineers are constantly looking for ways to improve and evolve the F50 to continually increase performance and ensure the boats remain at the cutting edge of technology.
SailGP Season 2 will start on February 28-29, 2020 in Sydney. Tickets go on sale November 1 at SailGP.com/Sydney.