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Giving Back to Move Sailing Forward: SailGP’s Inspire Program

Chicago, IL , 15-20 June 2022–   Sail1Design is here in the beautiful city of Chicago to catch the SailGP Tour’s stop at Chicago Yacht Club and also to check out SailGP’s “Inspire” program. At first glance (and what most people likely only ever see or hear about) SailGP looks quite simply like an exotic, high-flying foiling catamaran race league, featuring sailing’s very best professional sailors competing on this tour as they eye opportunities to sail in the next America’s Cup. Accurate? Yes. A complete definition of SailGP? Not at all. In doing a little reading up,  and chatting here on the sidelines, I learned a bit more about this organization and came away with a much better understanding and appreciation for it’s multi-layered mission. Here’s the short of it:

Through a truly global (and very exciting to watch) sail racing tour, featuring a ten-team league competing in the the 50+ knot F50 catamaran, SailGP has identified 3 core existential goals:

 Inspire practice while the US F50 tunes up for Sail GP Chicago

Yes, that’s the short of it….lot’s on here! So, SailGP has identified a both noble and ambitious mission. I honed in on just one part, Inspire Program’s “Inspire Racing.” On opening day,

Wednesday, we found a really cool container/trailer, just next to Chicago Yacht Club, opened up with gear and 8 Waszp single-handed foiling boats lined up, ready for the 16 youth entries

The Inspire Waszp sailors wait to be called on to the main stage at SailGP.

that filtered in to their first meeting. SailGP provides training and then a regatta for them, in some cases having the waszps sail in the same area as the F50’s…. cool!

INSPIRE RACING CORE MISSION

Tom Slingsby on the podium with Inspire’s Tommy Sitzmann

After the 16 sailors were divided up into Gold/Silver fleets, the Gold fleet had a chance to show their stuff in front of the Navy Pier crowd, and Saturday’s conditions were good for racing. Unfortunately the wind on Sunday was too light (in fact the F50’s had to race outside the jetty), so the Inspire regatta was cut short.

Afterwards, all Inspire racing sailors had a chance to be recognized on the main stage, and also met the winning F50 team… Tom Slingsby & Australia!

 

 

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