Live Ocean Racing’s all-female crew to compete in the ETF26 Grand Prix

Live Ocean Racing’s all-female crew to compete in the ETF26 Grand Prix

by Live Ocean Racing Apr 12 10:01 PDT
13 April 2022

The Live Ocean Racing team will compete in the ETF26 Grand Prix © Georgia Schofield

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Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have launched Live Ocean Racing, a platform that brings together a talented and diverse team to compete at the highest level.

The establishment of the racing team is a continuation of the couple’s intention to use their navigation platform to connect people to the issues facing the ocean. The women’s crew includes Olympic gold and silver medalists as well as the two women’s sailing crews from the NZSailGP team. All crew are New Zealand residents.

Live Ocean Racing’s first campaign will be the ETF26 Grand Prix, skippered by New Zealander Liv Mackay. It will feature some of the most successful sailors in the country competing on frustrating catamarans, speeding the way to professional sailing events like SailGP and the America’s Cup.

Mackay will be joined by a stellar line-up of New Zealand talent, including Olympic and World Champion sailors Jo Aleh, Molly Meech, Alex Maloney, Erica Dawson and Jason Saunders as coach.

Now in its fifth edition, the team will compete in the five-event series based in France and Italy starting this week. The Live Ocean regatta team will compete in open competition in the EFT26 lightweight class, which was created by leading solo and offshore sailor Jean-Pierre (JP) Dick. Four of the five circuit events will be sailed in France, with the fifth in Lake Garda, Italy. In 2021, two of the EFT26 circuit skippers also competed on the SailGP circuit.

Inspired by the catamarans used in the 35th America’s Cup, which formed the basis for the F50s in SailGP, the teams will compete on 26-foot design catamarans built for high-speed racing reaching speeds of up to 35 knots.

“Boating is rapidly evolving, with new technologies and innovative boat designs dominating professional boating,” said Mackay. “Until now, most women have spent their careers on one- or two-person boats with very limited opportunities to move beyond that to professional campaigns and foiling boats.”

“The ETF26 Grand Prix offers opportunities to spend more time training and racing on frustrating boats, a larger team environment and the chance to hone and refine racing skills. The ships are advanced and undergo constant refinement, so it’s great to be leading a team that rises to this challenge. And with the announcement of the women’s SailGP and America’s Cup programs, it’s exciting to see more opportunities emerge.”

Expanding on Burling and Tuke’s Live Ocean mission, Live Ocean Racing will operate independently of the Live Ocean Foundation, but will share the same vision: a healthy ocean for a healthy future. The Live Ocean Racing team takes the message of positive ocean action to the world, championing the innovative work of the foundation and its partners.

“When we started Live Ocean Foundation, we did so with a vision to use our navigation platform forever. We have launched Live Ocean Racing now that we have seen the need to provide more opportunities for women on frustration boats and we felt this was the right time and place to start,” said Burling.

“Looking ahead, Live Ocean Racing will break the mold of traditional sailing teams coming together for just one campaign, creating an agile team that races with a purpose. ETF26 is just the beginning.”

Yachting New Zealand High Performance Director Ian Stewart welcomed Live Ocean Racing and the impact it will have on the roads for women in yachting. “The establishment of Live Ocean Racing is a truly exciting development for our sport and Live Ocean is to be commended for its early focus on breaking ground and its commitment to a healthy ocean,” said Stewart. “These opportunities for women are long overdue and Live Ocean Racing will help inspire an inclusive generation of sailors.”

“Many of those involved with the Live Ocean Racing team this year are also working towards the 2024 Paris Olympics and we know that, if handled well, this will ultimately make them better sailors.”

Live Ocean Racing will take on a variety of ambitious racing events in the future.

The move to the EFT26 circuit is the latest initiative by former Olympic champions and two-time America’s Cup winners, using the sailing exploits of Burling and Tuke to raise awareness and drive several projects funded by a separate organization Live Ocean Foundation.

“Our vision for Live Ocean Racing is to rethink what a professional sports team looks like. With purpose at the heart of the team, Live Ocean Racing will compete for Aotearoa taking on incredible challenges at the pinnacle of the sport, while championing ocean action on the world stage,” said Tuke.

“Pete and I are excited to see the team get on the water and we are their biggest fans. We are fully committed to Emirates Team New Zealand and the New Zealand SailGP Team, but in the future we look forward to sailing for Live Ocean Racing. There are some incredible challenges in sailing that we haven’t tackled yet and are still a few years away, but taking on something like Ocean Race with Live Ocean Racing would be awesome.”

You can follow the action from the first ETF26 Grand Prix event on @itsliveocean from Saturday 16th April to Tuesday 19th April NZT.

The ETF26 series is back for a fifth edition that will take place from April to July:

  • Spi Ouest-France / 14-18 April 2022 / La Trinité sur mer (France)
  • Eurocat / April 28 – May 1, 2022 / Carnac (France)
  • Raid Quiberon / June 2-5, 2022 / Quiberon (France)
  • Foiling Week / June 30 – July 3, 2022 / Lake Garda (Italy)
  • Grand Prix Grand Pavois / September 29 – October 2, 2022 / La Rochelle (France)

About Live Ocean Racing

Live Ocean Racing is a New Zealand racing team committed to ocean action. Established by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Live Ocean Racing will bring together a talented and diverse team to compete at the highest level. With innovation and purpose embedded in our DNA, we race in and through the ocean.

  • Live Ocean Racing is run by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, however they are not part of the ETF26 Grand Prix sailing team. They are totally committed to SailGP and Emirates Team New Zealand.
  • Live Ocean Racing is a separate entity from the Live Ocean Foundation with its own governance, board, management, and funding. However, they share brand and purpose.
  • No funding from the Live Ocean Foundation goes to Live Ocean Racing. The foundation will continue to audit annually and provide a high level of transparency around donor funds.
  • Live Ocean Foundation is the Race for the Future charity partner for the New Zealand SailGP team.

About the Live the Ocean Foundation

Live Ocean is a marine conservation foundation committed to scaling up action for the ocean. Founded by sailors and ocean champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, the foundation expands marine science, innovation and outreach to connect and empower people about the role a healthy ocean plays in a healthy future. We partner with exceptional New Zealand marine scientists, innovators and communicators whose work has global implications for protecting the ocean and life in it. To have a healthy future, we must have a healthy ocean.

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