21 Jan 2021

Christchurch to host global sailing event

10:15 am on 21 January 2021

Christchurch has been added as a stop for the next season of the Sail GP championship, with the city to host the penultimate round in Lyttleton Harbour next January.

SailGP boats in action in Sydney.

SailGP boats in action in Sydney. Photo: © Sam Greenfield for SailGP 2020

The second season of the competition will feature eight teams and eight races, starting in Bermuda in April and finishing in San Francisco next March.

The league was launched in 2018 and is headed by Olympic champion and America's Cup winner, New Zealander Sir Russell Coutts.

Olympic and world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will head New Zealand's first entry in the event.

The competition will also involve Team UK skipper Sir Ben Ainslie and Luna Rossa's Jimmy Spithill.

The championship last year was suspended after the first race in Sydney, which was won by a British team led by four-times Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie.

Australia are defending champions.

"Christchurch is one of New Zealand's most exciting venues," says Coutts.

"The positioning of the race course is quite similar to the layout of our event in San Francisco, which should provide spectacular viewing for our spectators.

"Surrounded by the natural beauty of Lyttelton Harbour, we expect this event will draw passionate spectators from across the country and Australia, provided the Covid-19 situation improves as we hope it will.

"There's rarely been a time in my lifelong sailing career when I've been as enthusiastic as I am about our upcoming season," adds Coutts.

"In just over three months, we'll have the world's best sailors lining up in equally matched boats for what is shaping up to be some of the sport's most competitive racing yet."