SailGP’s highly anticipated Season 3 is set to kick off in a matter of days, but Japan will not race in the first three events of Season 3, resulting in a bespoke scoring system for the Season 2 runner up.
Launching with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess on May 14-15, Season 3 will span 2022-2023 with visits to previous destinations including Plymouth, San Francisco and Saint-Tropez. However, the season is also set to call at a whole host of new locations, including Chicago, Copenhagen, Dubai, Singapore and New Zealand. One final venue is still to be announced – chalking up a bursting 11 event season.
Alongside new locations, two new franchise teams have also been added with the entrance of Canada and Switzerland. Unfortunately, with nine boats available and the tenth still under construction, this means Nathan Outteridge’s Japan will have to sit out the first three events of the season to allow Canada to enter the league. Japan is expected to join the season for the fourth event in Copenhagen. This decision was based on logistical and commercial considerations.
The scoring system that will apply to Japan in Season 3 to compensate for the team’s delayed start has been explained by SailGP’s podcast.
Speaking on the second episode of the Deep Dive podcast, SailGP’s international broadcast commentators Stevie Morrison and David ‘Freddie’ Carr said it was a “huge shame” Japan would not be able to start Season 3 with the rest of the fleet. However, Morrison said the decision was ‘part of the game’.
“If you’re out in the commercial world, it’s part of the game – getting the money to compete in this high-level sport,” he said. “It’s a big shame because Japan bring a lot of colours and they were on a charge”.
The scoring system will see Japan awarded average points for the races they miss based on the first events they race in the season. This system will supercharge the intensity of the racing for the first three events in which Japan compete, Carr said.
“I for one am absolutely buzzing […] for them to have double point regattas effectively – I think that’s going to be really cool,” he said.
He added that the “top tier teams” such as Australia, USA, Great Britain and New Zealand will be looking to exploit this situation.
“When the Japanese come back and are scrapping for their SailGP Season 3 [those teams will make] their life as hard as possible because if you stop them scoring good points at the third and fourth event, it could well be season over.”
On the ‘flip side’, Morrison said, the scoring system could open the door to the Japanese making a dramatic comeback. “It would be some story to see Japan in the final,” he said.
Japan had to watch on as the rest of the fleet began their all-important practice sessions on the Great Sound ahead of Bermuda Sail Grand Prix this weekend, battling wet and windy conditions with gusts of up to 25 knots.
The Deep Dive podcast is available on all major podcast platforms and will feature new episodes ahead of each event of SailGP Season 3.