How does a sport go from a series of events to climate activists? And an international sailing competition? Surely, there’s something radically divergent between a series of multi-million dollar races which involve travel around the planet and sustainability –- or is there?  

Upon hearing that the SailGP is the first climate-positive sport on the planet, aided by a whole load of innovation in sailing and technology, I wanted to find out more. So I headed to San Francisco to learn all about it. To be clear and transparent, just so you know, I attended on the league’s dime. 

Let’s start with the basics:

What’s SailGP? 

SailGP is a global sailing league co-founded in 2019 by tech mogul Larry Ellison, co-founder, CTO, and former CEO of Oracle. 


It’s a sport where national teams race identical F50 wing sail catamarans that fly across the water on hydrofoils at speeds up to 96kmph (60 mph), making them some of the fastest on the sea — or akin to Formula 1 cars on water. The sailboats are literally powered by nature (wind, sun, and water). 

Each season comprises eight or more events across the globe, with each event including multiple races. Events occur across two days, with six races scheduled for each Sail Grand Prix. And the prize is a tidy $1 million for the winning team.

SanFrancisco SailGP