The five members of the U.S. SailGP Team was announced this week.
The team includes Rome Kirby, 29, of Newport, Rhode Island (helmsman); Riley Gibbs, 22, of Long Beach, California (wing trimmer); Hans Henken, 26, of Coronado, California (flight controller); Mac Agnese, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (grinder); and Dan Morris, 30, of Newport, Rhode Island (grinder).
The crew boasts an impressive track record in international racing, with a host of professional ocean racing and world championship honors between them. Kirby will be looking to add SailGP success to his 2013 America’s Cup win, while Morris has a World Match Racing Tour title under his belt. Agnese, Gibbs and former youth world champion Henken are all bidding to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Coutts, SailGP will kick off its inaugural season in February 2019. It will feature five grand prix events and six national teams competing on identical wingsailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.
The intensely competitive, inshore racing events will be held in Sydney (February 15-16); San Francisco (May 4-5); New York (June 21-22); Cowes, UK (August 10-11); and Marseille, France (September 20-22).
The SailGP event in New York will take place on the lower Hudson River, with the onshore Race Village located at Brookfield Place. It will feature Friday and Saturday afternoon racing just off the Battery and running north toward Rockefeller Park. In San Francisco, racing will take place in the San Francisco Bay, with the Race Village located on the Marina Yacht Club Peninsula. It will feature Saturday and Sunday mid-day racing on the city front racecourse.
“It’s an incredible honour to represent the United States and compete for our country,” said Kirby.
“We’re all lifelong sailors – it’s our profession and our passion. But until now we’ve never had the chance to go toe-to-toe against the world’s best international sailors over a full season of competition. SailGP brings something totally new to the sport. The race venues are spectacular but challenging, and there’s that extra edge you get representing the USA against other national teams. SailGP will bring the sport we love closer to fans and spectators than ever before.”