Switzerland SailGP Team will be back on board its cutting-edge F50 ‘Eiger’ and back on the racetrack next week, at the opening event of SailGP Season 4; Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago at Navy Pier, 16-17 June. Season 4 will start on the iconic Lake Michigan and culminate once again in San Francisco Bay for the Season Grand Final, July 13-14, 2024.
For Season 4 the Swiss, led on the water by Geneva’s Sébastien Schneiter, will no longer be the newest team racing in the league. Germany SailGP Team launched earlier this month with F1 World Champion, Sebastian Vettel as co-investor.
SailGP brings together national teams, with the best sailors in the world, to battle it out in short, intense races at iconic stadium-style venues, for sailing’s top prize of US$1 million. The boats are high-performance foiling catamarans but one-design, with data shared amongst the teams.
Switzerland SailGP Team CEO, Tanguy Cariou said: “Season 3 was a tough and challenging first year in the league, but we showed some good moments at times, and have put together a good team. We are looking forward to starting Season 4 together next week with new goals and ambitions and building on the improvements we made in San Francisco last month. That’s an exciting challenge!”
Joining driver Schneiter onboard for Season 4 is a new face; Olympic gold and silver medallist, Will Ryan (AUS). Ryan, a Swiss resident living in Fribourg will make his SailGP racing debut in the wing trimmer role. He brings a significant amount of racing experience to the team as does two-time America’s Cup winner and multihull specialist, Glenn Ashby. Ashby will continue to support the Swiss as sailing advisor – and reserve wing trimmer – for next week’s opener.
Former Olympian Jason Saunders (NZL) retains his flight controller position and Switzerland’s Laurane Mettraux will race as strategist, giving tactical direction to driver Schneiter. The grinder roles will be shared between Jeremy Bachelin (SUI), Julien Rolaz (SUI) and Guy Endean (NZL).
Not part of the Chicago lineup, but part of the core crew for Season 4 are Swiss athletes, Olympian Maud Jayet (Strategist) and Eliot Merceron (Grinder). Jayet will share the role with Mettraux, working the SailGP racing around her Paris 2024 sailing campaign. Schneiter is also campaigning for his third Olympic games.
Schneiter said: “It’s really exciting to be preparing for our second season in SailGP. We aren’t the newbies anymore; it will be good to have Erik [Heil] and Germany SailGP Team with us on the start line in Chicago and take on this title!
“It’s not easy being a new team in SailGP, the level is so high and there is not that much time in the F50, so you spend a lot of time playing catch up. But the past few weeks we have been working through the data from Season 3 and had some time together as a team in the F50 Simulator.
“We’re feeling confident going into season 4 and for sure ready to get going again. For the first time we’re returning to venues we know, so having some prior experience of the racetracks will hopefully be an advantage too.”
After Chicago the fleet will head to the west coast to race at the inaugural Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix (July 22-23). The league then heads closer to home with the European leg and events in France (9-10 September), Italy (23-24 September) followed by a return to Cádiz, in Andalucía, Spain (14-15 October).
It will be the third time Saint-Tropez hosts the SailGP racing and last year the teams broke speed records on the Azur racetrack, hitting close to 100 km/h. Click for the full Season 4 calendar.
The Swiss team will continue to use its sporting platform to champion one sport, one planet and drive positive environmental and behavioral change. Together with main and race for the future partner, WE Foundation, it will race for a sport that is accessible to all and society that is inclusive.
The Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix | Navy Pier Chicago takes place on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June. Racing takes place from 4 – 5.30pm local time, 11pm – 12:30am CEST.