SailGP set to deliver milestone event in clean energy journey at British Sail Grand Prix
SailGP will take its biggest step forward in its ambition to be the most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports league, with some of the most progressive technological and sustainable clean energy innovations in action at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth next weekend (30-31 July).
Hosted in Britain’s Ocean City, home to the UK’s first National Marine Park, Plymouth’s stunning natural amphitheatre will provide the perfect venue for the third event on SailGP’s global Season 3 calendar, as nine teams race not only on the water but for a better future powered by nature.
In partnership with Aggreko, a provider of mobile modular power, Plymouth will boast the largest solar array SailGP has ever used and will display bio-methanol fuel as an energy source at a live event within the UK for the first time. This will enable the entire race village to be 100% powered by clean energy, while also supplementing wider energy across the site.
Aggreko will also continue to utilise other previously seen renewable energy technologies such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which will be used to power the Trinity Pier and Clyde Quays where SailGP’s technical area is located, home to its world-class athletes and cutting-edge F50 race boats.
The Great Britain Sail Grand Prix will be the most sustainable on-water event ever with the largest number of electric solutions integrated across the race weekend through agreements with RS Electric, Evoy and Vita, as part of SailGP’s target to power its entire on-water fleet by clean energy by 2025.
The Inspire Program – SailGP’s community, education and outreach initiative – will showcase races run 100% on clean energy for the first time ever, providing a glimpse into the racecourse of the future for the hydro-foiling F50s. This includes MarkSetBot, the world’s first robotic sailing marks, and support boats fitted with electric ePropulsion engines.
Drift Energy will also showcase a world-first technology of a foiling yacht that produces green hydrogen on board – leaving nothing behind but oxygen. The green hydrogen, having been produced entirely by the power of the wind, could in future form a tangible part of SailGP’s event and on-water clean energy strategy.
SailGP global director of purpose and impact Fiona Morgan said: “As we’ve seen Britain shatter its record for the highest temperature ever registered as a direct result of climate change, now more than ever all businesses, including sports organisations, need to act. It’s great to be back in Plymouth and collaborating with a wide range of key partners and suppliers to find innovative solutions to minimise our impact, focusing on clean energy. These are just a few steps in our ambition to be fully powered by nature by 2025, but it’s a real showcase of how we need to work together to tackle the climate emergency and every change makes a big difference.”
Out on Plymouth Sound, Sir Ben Ainslie will make his SailGP debut on home waters at the Grand Prix, hoping to lead his Great Britain team to a victory that would break the stranglehold Tom Slingsby and his Australia SailGP team are developing on the competition. Two-time defending champion Australia has also claimed the first two events of Season 3, defeating Ainslie and the Phil Robertson-led Canada team in both finals.
In the lead up to the event Ainslie described Plymouth Sound as a challenging but great venue. “It ticks all the boxes, it can be baking hot with a light sea breeze or pouring rain and blowing 25 knots (29mph), you just don’t know what you’re going to get. But you also don’t get many opportunities to race at home at this sort of level and it’s extra special to race in front of a home crowd,” Ainslie said.
On Sunday 31 July, The Duchess of Cambridge, Royal Patron of the 1851 Trust, will visit Plymouth and join a group of young people taking part in the Protect Our Future programme by the 1851 Trust – the official charity of the Great Britain SailGP Team. Her Royal Highness will then get a taste of the incredible speed and skill involved in SailGP when she boards Ainslie’s British F50 and takes part in a friendly Commonwealth race against UN Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, who will race with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke’s New Zealand SailGP Team. The race will take place ahead of the three SailGP races on the final day of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix and will be commentated on live from the Official Race Village.
Fans that can’t make it to Plymouth can catch all the action live on Sky Sports and YouTube from 14:00 BST on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 July.