Excitement is mounting for another spectacular first for SailGP; as the world’s most exciting racing on water heads to the city of sand dunes and sparkling skyscrapers for the first time, to deliver an adrenaline-packed weekend at the Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas, on 12-13 November.
Dubai is famous for its amazing buildings – including the beautiful Museum of the Future and the Burj Khalifa (at 830m the world’s tallest building)- and vast shopping malls that are home to huge aquariums and indoor ski slopes, all happily sitting beside a rich history and culture. This includes the traditional Souks, including the Spice and Gold Souks lining the Dubai Creek, which itself is home to traditional fishing Dhows and offers direct access to the beautiful, warm, blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. Here, fans in Dubai will experience the incredible excitement of the foiling F50 catamarans for the first time.
Dubai is famously a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, so every national SailGP team is guaranteed a large following on the dockside. Excitement and drama will be nonstop as the fleet of identical F50s fly by spectators at speeds of up to 100 kph!
In the last Season 3 event of 2022, the Dubai Sail Grand Prix is the 7th stop of the global sailing championship after the Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía – Cadíz. Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas is held in collaboration with P&O Marinas, the City of Dubai and the Dubai Sports Council.
DRIVERS: DUBAI’S TIGHT RACECOURSE WILL TRANSFORM RACING INTO A GAME OF POSITIONING AND TACTICS
Dubai’s perilously tight racetrack is set to put pressure on teams’ starting strategy as the fleet fights to get out in front.
Located in the commercial port of Port Rashid, the course is likely to be under 2km long, limiting overtaking opportunities and increasing boat-on-boat situations.
Speaking at a pre-event press conference, Australia driver Tom Slingsby said this would put pressure on ‘positioning, starting and trying to find clean lanes’.
“On a super tight racecourse that will be important to move up through the race if you’re at the back of the pack.”
Slingsby recalled watching Switzerland, Canada and Spain in practice, during which it took ‘less than 30 seconds for them to get from Mark One down to the bottom gate. “That was daunting,” he said.
Handling the F50 on the course in the 30 km/h – 33 km/h wind speed forecast for Sunday could be a ‘handful’, he added. “It will be exciting for the fans but it will be scary for us.”
Great Britain driver Ben Ainslie agreed that the racing would ‘come down to tight boat-on-boat manoevures’ and ‘trying to get separation from other boats’.
“The moment you’re alongside too many other boats, you’re all slowing each other down – the ones that tack away and find the space will probably be the ones that do quite well.”
Canada driver Phil Robertson suggested the weekend could turn into a ‘dog fight’ and wouldn’t hesitate to ‘swing’ for the other teams when racing gets underway.
“On a tight racecourse like this, it’s definitely an attitude that you’ve got to have – you can’t be too timid.”
With spectators watching the racing from the habor wall, Dubai is set to offer the closest shoreside racing of the SailGP calendar. For this reason, the event could ‘go down in SailGP history as one of the best events for fans,” Switzerland co-driver Sebastien Schneiter said.
“We’re sailing right next to the wall and the fans can almost high five us when we’re tacking on the boundary,” he said.
Racing takes place in Dubai between 15:00-16:30 GST on Saturday and Sunday. Full broadcast information and How to Watch details HERE.