Today, INEOS TEAM UK joined SailGP, beginning in the global league’s second season kicking off in February 2020. Ben Ainslie and a world-class squad of athletes will represent Great Britain in sailing’s newest and fastest championship that boasts the sport’s largest monetary prize of US$1 million.
Ainslie’s SailGP squad will be fully announced early next year, utilising a combination of athletes from INEOS TEAM UK – the British challenger for the America’s Cup – and existing members of the Great Britain SailGP Team. The crew will pilot the revolutionary F50, which this year eclipsed the 50-knot speed barrier for the first time ever in sail racing, against at least five other national teams beginning in Sydney on February 28-29.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have one of the most successful Olympic athletes of all time – across any sport – join our global championship,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “With crucial support from INEOS, Sir Ben Ainslie and the Great Britain SailGP Team will be contenders from day one and will create even more thrilling competition across our growing league.”
Current Great Britain SailGP Team grinder Matt Gotrel joins Ainslie as the second official team member of the 2020 squad. The 30-year old British Olympic champion rower will also join Ainslie and INEOS TEAM UK in their America’s Cup campaign.
“SailGP has proven itself as one of the most exciting sailing leagues, with top level competition and racing in iconic venues across the world,” said Ainslie. “The cutting-edge technology, speed and athletic requirements of the championship will provide a great sporting challenge. The Great Britain SailGP Team had a fantastic first season, and we’re excited to be part of this journey as the league continues to grow.”
Luxury British heritage clothing brand Belstaff and uncompromising 4x4 vehicle Grenadier are Supporting Partners, along with leading global payment and risk management specialist AFEX, which will serve as the Official Foreign Exchange Partner.
“We’re proud to partner the Great Britain SailGP Team – and help the team better manage its currency exposures,” said Wayne Mitchell, managing director at AFEX, which comes on as both a partner and service provider to the team. “As part of our deep commitment to innovation and excellence, we support sport around the world, and share the values of discipline and excellence that top athletes and teams embody.”
“The desire for INEOS and Ben Ainslie – alongside Belstaff, Grenadier and AFEX – to be part of SailGP is further testament to the commercial viability of our platform,” said Coutts of the league, which saw a total global TV audience of 256 million in its first season of operation.
SailGP Season 2 premiers in Sydney (February 28-29), before returning to the U.S. for events in San Francisco (May 2-3) and New York (June 12-13). Cowes on the Isle of Wight in the UK was recently announced as the first European event of Season 2, returning August 14-15, 2020, after a hugely successful event during the championship’s inaugural year. The remainder of the Season 2 schedule will be announced in the coming months.