NEW ZEALAND SAILGP TEAM REMAINS TOP OF IMPACT LEAGUE AHEAD OF GRAND FINAL

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – 3 February 2022 – The New Zealand SailGP Team is on the cusp of claiming the inaugural Impact League trophy after taking out the top spot at the Australia Sail Grand Prix.

New Zealand SailGP Team co-helmed by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in action on Race Day 2. Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG. 18 December 2021. Photo: David Gray for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP

New Zealand overcame tough competition from several teams including a much-improved France SailGP Team to win the Impact League in Sydney following an external audit completed last week.

The result gives New Zealand a commanding lead at the top of the Impact League, 51 points clear of second placed Great Britain ahead of the Grand Final in San Francisco on 26-27 March.

A second leaderboard which runs alongside the Season Championship, the Impact League tracks the positive actions teams take to reduce their overall footprint and help accelerate inclusivity in sailing.

At the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix in San Francisco there will be two podiums, with the winner of the Impact League crowned alongside the Season Champion and taking home a USD $100,000 prize for its Race for the Future partner.

Co-CEO Blair Tuke said: “We’re really happy to maintain our position at the top of the Impact League heading into the Grand Final in San Francisco. The competition has been heating up all season and it’s been awesome to see so many of the teams really pushing one another. 

“We’ve been looking at every area of our operations to find ways to improve, develop innovative solutions, introduce new technologies, connect with sustainable partners and use our voice to share the message of ocean restoration and protection with our Race for the Future partner Live Ocean. 

“It’s been a huge team effort to get to this point of having a healthy lead in the Impact League heading into the last event in the USA. The goal for the team now is to finish the season off strong, both in the Impact League and in the racing.”

Over the season the New Zealand SailGP Team has focussed on making many small improvements which are seeing significant collective impact. At the Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, the New Zealand SailGP Team reduced its hose water consumption by 36 per cent by using vinegar and water to wash down the majority of the F50, meaning less soap suds to rinse off.

The team replaced single-use cable ties with self-adhesive velcro ties for attaching the righting lines to the tramp, saving more than 50 cable ties per event and ensuring no plastic cable ties would end up in the ocean in the event of a capsize.

To help protect and enhance New Zealand’s oceans, the team partnered with Yachting New Zealand on their world-leading Clean Club programme, and also partnered with Gen Less on a campaign, #RightSideNZ, to encourage New Zealanders to be world leaders in clean and clever energy use.

As part of SailGP’s initiatives to increase participation in sailing, New Zealand engaged a SailGP Inspire intern to gain valuable experience working with the shore team, whilst the athletes also held a virtual Q&A and virtual base tour with the youth members of the team’s local ‘Adopt-A-Club’ Hunters Hill Sailing Club.

SailGP director of purpose and impact Fiona Morgan said: “It’s been fantastic to see the New Zealand SailGP Team continuing to innovate and raise the bar with its sustainability efforts this season and also share their learnings and collaborate with other teams. Everyone has really embraced the spirit of the Impact League and looked at the many small actions they can all take that add up to make a big difference. All eyes are now on the Grand Final in San Francisco to see if New Zealand can maintain its position and win sport’s first podium for the planet.”

Live Ocean chief executive Sally Paterson said: “The team has developed into a passionate group of ocean champions and have used their platform for good, taking the vital message of ocean restoration and protection with them as they race around the globe. I’m proud of the leadership the team has displayed and excited by the prospect of watching them seal the deal with an Impact League victory in San Francisco.”

The Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix will be televised live and on replay on Sky Sport NZ. For more information visit SailGP.com

SAILGP SEASON 2 SCHEDULE // March 26-27, 2022 Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco (Season 2 Grand Final)

ABOUT SAILGP // SailGP races for a better future, championing a world powered by nature. The world’s most exciting race on-water, SailGP features national teams battling in short, intense races at iconic stadium-style venues across the globe, building to the grand final – and sailing’s top prize of US$1 million. The high-tech, high-speed action features sailing’s best athletes racing in identical hydro foiling F50 catamarans, flying at electrifying speeds approaching 100 km/h. Visit SailGP.com for more information.  

ABOUT LIVE OCEAN // Live Ocean is a marine conservation charity founded by sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke to amplify and accelerate positive ocean action in Aotearoa New Zealand. As sailors and all-round ocean lovers, they are bringing their ambition and competitive spirit to step up to the challenge to protect and restore our oceans. Live Ocean partners with promising people and projects with a focus on marine science, innovation and public education. www.liveocean.com or @itsliveocean