Category: SailGP

The Great Britain SailGP Team have begun training for the Italy Sail Grand Prix this weekend (5 and 6 June) in Taranto Harbour in southern Italy.

There was, however, a new face at the wheel onboard the team’s F50 with the Driver role being filled by decorated foiling sailor and Olympic Gold medallist, Paul Goodison for the next two SailGP events in Taranto and Plymouth. Due to long standing personal commitments, the team’s Skipper Ben Ainslie will not compete in the next two events, however he will continue to lead the team in his role as CEO. 

Hailing from Rotherham, UK, Goodison brings a wealth of Olympic and foiling experience to the table having competed for Team GB at the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games. Goodison won Gold at the Beijing Games and was crowned Laser World Champion in 2009. Following his Olympic retirement, Goodison headed into the world of foiling, developing his skill set in the Moth, which culminated in becoming a three-time Moth World Champion (2016, 2017 & 2018).

For Paul, who had previously sailed in the foiling catamarans with Artemis Racing in the 35th America’s Cup before joining American Magic’s America’s Cup campaign in Auckland recently, it was an opportunity to get back to grips with the flying F50s.

“It was a really good, tricky first day for me. We managed just over two hours in anywhere from 8 to 20 knots of breeze, really gusty and shifty stuff.

“It was great to be back in the catamaran. It’s very nimble and manoeuvrable and you get punished hard for getting little things wrong, but that’s what makes it so exciting. Today was all about settling in with the team and getting used to the very simple stuff.

“We had a couple of loose laps and moments, including one where we popped the rudder out and took quite a lot of water over the deck, but by the end of the day I managed to handle the boat a lot better, got more used to the controls and we had a few good laps at the end.”

SailGP GBR team on the water in Taranto, Italy

Whilst Paul may be new to the British team, he is very much a familiar face, having sailed with both Flight Controller Luke ‘Parko’ Parkinson and Wing Trimmer Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen previously at Artemis Racing. That strong existing relationship has helped Paul settled well into the team very quickly.

“It was really nice sailing with Parko and Goobs again”, Paul added, “the whole team has gelled well early on, but we still have a lot of work to do. We will keep practicing hard and working on things throughout the week. There is still a lot to learn”.

The Italy Grand Prix starts on 5 June in Taranto and can be watched live in the UK at 12.30pm on Sky Sports and for free on SailGP’s YouTube channel.

Paul Goodison, meanwhile, is itching to get going: "For me it's all about going racing against the other sailors I have been racing against and competing against for the last five or six years. They are all the top of their sport and I want to be up there racing against them, this gives you the platform to do that."

Following Taranto, the next event of the season is the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth on 17 and 18 July. Find out more about the event and how it can benefit your business: http://investplymouth.co.uk/sailgp.

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