Sam Newton, Director of SailSolutions, Australia’s Rolly Tasker Sails’ distributor since 2001, was a key member of the Australian team that won the inaugural 2019 SailGP championship that concluded in Marseille last weekend after world wide series with lead up events in Sydney, New York, San Francisco and Cowes.
SailGP, a new sailing format built around cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism, is the brain child of Sir Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison who created the Oracle Americas Cup team for which Sam competed in the last two Cups. It is raced in some of the world’s most iconic waters with each team representing their own nation and battling it out in identical supercharged F50 foiling catamarans with aeronautical style wings instead of a mainsail, engineered for intense racing at speeds exceeding 50 knots (nearly 60 mph/100 kph). Each boat races with 5 crew, a skipper, a wing trimmer, two grinders and a flight controller whose key job is to manage the complex task of keeping the boat on its foils throughout the race to optimise speed and manoeuvrability.
For the inaugural 2019 season entrants came from Australia, the USA, France, China, the UK and Japan. Sam’s Australian team dominated the series winning four of the five two-day events and earning themselves a ‘ticket’ to the Grand Final; a 10-minute winner takes all match race against team Japan. After a tense race, analysis showed that the final duel at the wing mark came down to a gap of just 78cm between the two 15-metre-long boats while they were doing over 30 knots. If the Australians had been just five-hundredths of a second slower, Japan could have forced them to incur a penalty but it wasn’t to be with the Aussies winning the USD$1M and naming rights as the first ever winner of this new championship.
Sam and co-director Greg have had another record year for Rolly Tasker Sails Australia with the business going from strength to strength in an extremely demanding market. While RTS hasn’t yet started selling ‘wings’ when the time comes they will be well poised to lead the world in this innovative technology given Sam’s Americas Cup and now SailGP experience.
Australia is about to enter its summer sailing season which will see Sam predominantly sailing on Australian waters in a variety of challenging craft including his 14th season as bowman in the 18 foot skiff Class (with 6 World Titles under his belt), racing one design in the Etchells Class and competing in his 7th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race trimming the mainsail onboard the maxi yacht, Wild Oats XI. Out there spectating and club racing will be Greg in his RTS equipped Beneteau 45.
If you’re in the market for a new sail or a chat about your yachts sail requirements or just up for a chat with Sam, be sure to contact the team.