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An A-list of some of the top names in world sailing will be flying across Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour in early 2022.
ChristchurchNZ has announced that the high-speed SailGP sailing league will hold a leg of its second season right here in Aotearoa. The league pits identical, high-speed F50 foiling catamarans against each other.
For added excitement, the newest team to join the league is New Zealand, headed up by sailing celebrities and Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts says Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most exciting venues. "The positioning of the race course is quite similar to the layout of our event in San Francisco, which should provide spectacular viewing for our spectators. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Lyttelton Harbour, we expect this event will draw passionate spectators from across the country and Australia, provided the COVID-19 situation improves as we hope it will. Aotearoa New Zealand is a proud sailing nation and Ōtautahi Christchurch has a proud sporting heritage, so we expect Lyttelton Harbour will deliver fantastic conditions and a very warm welcome to all teams and visiting fans.”
New Zealand SailGP team co-CEO Peter Burling says the team is proud to represent New Zealand. "There is nothing better than competing on home waters supported by our country’s sports fans, so we are stoked to bring the global event to Christchurch. We can’t wait to start racing in SailGP and sharing our Live Ocean conservation message along the way, which we know fans here in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world will get behind.”
Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke officially welcomed SailGP to Ōtautahi Christchurch at Rāpaki Marae on January 21. Chair Manaia Rehu says the hapū are honoured to have the event on Whakaraupō and to be representatives of Māori culture to a global audience. “Whakaraupō is a special part of our identity and as kaitiaki, guardians, of this beautiful place, we are pleased to welcome the world to our backyard.”
Loren Heaphy, ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Destination and Attraction, says SailGP represents a unique and unmissable opportunity for the city. “This is an entirely different event to those we typically attract to Christchurch, and we jumped at the opportunity to bid to host SailGP. We are a city of sport and innovation, and SailGP combines these in a way only a handful of global sporting spectacles can. Major events bring vibrancy to the city, bring communities together and attract visitors, and stimulate economic activity. We are confident SailGP will boost our reputation as a city with incredible outdoor assets, the infrastructure and capability to hold major events, and a dedicated public who will no doubt get behind this incredible grand prix. In addition, the event has a focus on sustainability, diversity, innovation and leaving a positive legacy in host cities, something that we are incredibly excited to work together with SailGP to achieve.”
Christchurch, Lyttelton Harbour, Wednesday 29 to Thursday 30 January 2022