Photography by Chris Cameron
Sydney Harbour was awash with colour today as the revolutionary SailGP F50s of Australia, China, Great Britain, France, Japan and the United States lined up on the water together for the first time just one week out from the inaugural Sydney race.
The teams hit the water in their identical, 2,400kg supercharged catamarans as part of the first official Sydney SailGP rehearsal. The spectacle included a practice start, before the teams completed laps of the race track.
The Japan SailGP Team boat was unveiled at Cockatoo Island on Sydney Harbour. The Japanese F50 catamaran – which will be raced for the first time on Sydney Harbour on 15-16 February – features a clean white hull with a distinctive red rising sun on the bows. The striking wing design is based on traditional Japanese artwork, Ukiyoe.
“I can only say thank you to everyone who made this happen today. I really appreciate their efforts,” said Kazuhiko Sofuku, Japan SailGP Team chief operating officer. “The boat has now been handed to the sailors for testing and training; we still have a lot to do before racing begins next week, but we will be ready. I am grateful to SailGP for giving Japanese sailors the opportunity to be on the start line in what will be the most exciting professional sailing league in the world.”
“It’s fantastic to finally launch our boat today,” said Japan SailGP Team CEO and helmsman Nathan Outteridge.
“Our shore crew have been working with Core Builders Composites and the SailGP Tech Team led by Mark Turner to create the final F50 in SailGP’s fleet. It has been an extraordinary achievement in a very tight time frame. We are looking forward to sea trialling the boat on Sydney Harbour then racing these incredible machines against some of the best sailors in the world.”
For Japanese sailors Yugo Yoshida, Yuki Kasatani and Leo Takahashi, SailGP is the next step following their recent experience representing Japan during the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Yoshida and Kasatani sailed with SoftBank Team Japan, while Takahashi helmed the Japanese Youth America’s Cup.
“It is very exciting to finally have the chance to sail the Japan SailGP Team F50,” said Kasatani. “We are ready to get some time on the water, and look forward to next week’s racing.”
Sydney SailGP will take place 15-16 February in Sydney Harbour. Tickets for a variety of exclusive spectator experiences are still available for the world-premiere SailGP event.