Olympic gold medalist and defending SailGP Champion Tom Slingsby has announced his team line up set to defend Australia’s championship title in SailGP Season 2.
After securing a history making win as the inaugural SailGP Champions, Slingsby, the Australian team helm and CEO, has selected several members of his winning squad to join him in Season 2, which commences in Bermuda on April 24-25.
In addition to Slingsby the returning athletes from his winning squad include Kyle Langford, 31, of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales (wing trimmer); Jason Waterhouse, 29, of Sydney (flight controller) Sam Newton, 35, of Sydney (grinder) and Kinley Fowler, 33, of Perth, Western Australia, (grinder/flight controller).
Nick Hutton will join the Australian team for Season 2 as a grinder, replacing Ky Hurst who has stepped aside from the team to spend more time with his family in Australia. Hutton, hailing from the United Kingdom, is the only international member of a majority Australian crew.
He joins the team with a wealth of experience onboard the high-speed F50 catamaran, having previously sailed in the Great Britain SailGP Team. He will join the crew after recently competing with the British Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup.
The squad also includes the two successful candidates from the Australia SailGP Team female development programme, Olympic silver medallists Lisa Darmanin, 29, of Sydney and Nina Curtis, 32, of Sydney. The initiative, launched last year, aims to fast-track the inclusion of female athletes in the league.
The initial phase of the programme sees Darmanin and Curtis immersed in the team for the season’s opening event in Bermuda in April. Following the pre-season training and development in Bermuda at least one of the athletes will be selected to join the team for the rest of SailGP Season 2.
Commenting on the team line up for Season 2 Slingsby said:“Our squad features some of our nation’s most talented sailors, including Olympians, Sydney To Hobart alumni and America’s Cup champions. We’ve proven what a strong team we have after our success in Season 1 and their ability and experience on the F50 is going to be crucial when we go up against tough new competition this season, like Peter Burling’s New Zealand Team and Jimmy Spithill’s USA Team.
“We have used this time off between seasons to review our performance as a team and assess improvements we can make. We are coming back more hungry than ever, with the goal to bring home the Championship trophy again for Australia.”
On the addition of Darmanin and Curtis to the team Slingsby added, “Lisa and Nina will be the first female athletes to sail on the Australian F50, which is an important step in our mission as a league to increase opportunities for women in the sport.
“They are arguably two of the best female sailors in Australia, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they use their years of experience from competing in the Olympics and other competitions to develop their skill set on board the F50.”
The dynamic league’s expanded Season 2 roster will consist of seven other Sail Grand Prix events, beginning in Bermuda on April 24-25, and visiting Taranto, Italy (June 5-6), Plymouth, Great Britain (July 17-18), Saint-Tropez, France (September 11-12), Cádiz, Spain (October 9-10), Christchurch, New Zealand (January 29-30, 2022) and San Francisco, USA (March 26-27, 2022).
SailGP’s second season will feature Tom Slingsby’s reigning Australian champion team, along with crews from Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States. The season will culminate with the Grand Final in San Francisco on March 26-27, 2022, when the champion will be determined in a single $1 million winner-takes-all final.
Main image © Craig Greenhill/SailGP