In less than six weeks, Switzerland SailGP Team will make its racing debut at SailGP and today they announce four new recruits who will race under the Swiss flag in the global racing league.
The Swiss team is part of the next generation of SailGP talent, and the team will go head-to-head against some of the sport’s best athletes, at some of the world’s most iconic waterfront locations.
Richard Mason (GBR), Eliot Merceron (SUI) and Julien Rolaz (SUI) will join in the grinder positions, with Jérémy Bachelin (SUI) supporting the team as a reserve athlete. Two grinders race onboard the cutting-edge F50, they are positioned at the front of the F50 race boat, one facing forward the other facing backwards. It’s the most physical role onboard, with the athletes competing at max heart rate during the 20-minute races.
Mason brings a significant amount of racing experience to the team, having been part of the Great Britain SailGP Team since the inaugural season of the league. He was also part of the British America’s Cup team for the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland.
Season 3 will be the first-time racing in the global championship and racing in the role of grinder – for Swiss sailors Merceron and Rolaz. Merceron has an Olympic class sailing background, he campaigned for two Games in the Laser class dinghy, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Away from the racecourse, Merceron also has a master’s degree in Engineering.
Rolaz started sailing in an Optimist dinghy aged eight, before moving into the 420 class to compete at National and International regattas. His sporting background also includes rugby, playing for the Swiss National Team – U20 and Senior – and CrossFit competitions, where he has achieved multiple podiums.
Supporting the team as reserve athlete is Jérémy Bachelin. Bachelin has raced alongside the Swiss team’s driver Sébastien Schneiter as part of Team Tilt, representing Switzerland at the 2013 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and again in 2017, where the team finished on the podium.
Forming the wider race team is double Olympic medallist, Stuart Bithell MBE (GBR) in the role of wing trimmer and Olympian, Jason Saunders (NZL), as Flight Controller. A Swiss female athlete will complete the crew line up onboard the F50, this position will be announced mid-April.
Tanguy Cariou, CEO said: “We welcome Richard, Julien, Eliot and Jérémy to the team and are looking forward to training all together on the F50 race boat in Bermuda in the coming weeks.
“Just like Stuart and Jason, Richard brings prior SailGP experience to the team and will be a huge asset in helping our Swiss grinders, Julien and Eliot, to learn the role. We know this first year will be an intense season for us, learning as we go along, but we have the right people in the right positions and are excited to get going.”
The league’s Season 3 calendar will start in Bermuda 14-15 May 2022.