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SailGP adds Chicago, Dubai to schedule

The SailGP global league has added Chicago and Dubai to the line-up of regattas for its third season starting in 2022.

The Chicago regatta, to be held on Lake Michigan, is set for June 18-19. It follows the season opener in Bermuda on May 14-15. SailGP will visit the Middle East for the first time on November 11-12.

SailGP, which is contested in foiling 50-foot catamarans, announced eight of its 10 stops on Tuesday. Co-founder Russell Coutts, a five-time America’s Cup winner, said the league is in negotiations with three venues for the final two regattas. Those cities include San Francisco, Sydney and an undisclosed port in Asia.

There are two regattas left in the second season, next week in Sydney and March 26-27 in San Francisco, which will include the $1 million, winner-take-all final podium race.

US skipper Jimmy Spithill was with America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA when a preliminary regatta was held on Chicago Harbor in 2016.

“Mate, it was epic, that one,” Australian Spithill, a two-time America’s Cup champion and a SailGP newcomer this season, said.

“You’ve just got an awesome location because you can race inside that breakwall area, right off Navy Pier. From a spectator point of view it’s awesome. The other thing is there were boats everywhere, lots of spectators. I had no idea that many people in Chicago had boats.”

The rest of the Season 3 schedule after Bermuda and Chicago includes Plymouth, Copenhagen, Saint-Tropez, Cadiz, Dubai, and Christchurch.

New teams from Canada and Switzerland will join the current line-up that includes teams from Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.

SailGP includes most of the top skippers in the world. Defending champions Australia, skippered by former America’s Cup champion and Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby, hold a one-point lead over Spithill’s US team and the Japanese team skippered by another Aussie in Nathan Outteridge, an Olympic gold and silver medalist.

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