SailGP's Impact League to nurture growth of women's sailing

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Boats at the Sail GP event, with the third round taking place in Plymouth last weekend.
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SailGP’s launch of the Impact League hopes to encourage more women to get involved in sailing, with the presence of Australia’s Nina Curtis and New Zealand’s Liv Mackay in the 2021 series.

Curtis and Mackay are just two of the women involved in this year’s SailGP alongside Denmark’s Katja Salskov-Iversen, Spain’s Tara Pacheco, and France’s Amelie Riou to name a few, following a female athlete pathway to get more women involved in SailGP.

The Impact League, which was launched in Plymouth ahead of the third race of the season, gives sailing crews points for their positive actions towards climate change as well as for diversity and inclusion, and has the potential to inspire more women to participate in sailing competitions.

Team New Zealand is currently leading the Impact League, and Mackay is hoping to keep the message of climate change at the forefront of their racing.

She said: “From the get-go, the New Zealand team have really been proactive about their decisions and their actions for the impact league.

“Live Ocean – our charity partner – is very much part of our DNA and from the get-go we've been very conscious of all the effects we have on the ocean and the environment.

“I think it's extremely important that all athletes take the initiative to put the message out there that 800 million people will be affected by 2050 and there's a lot of other important facts out there.

“I think that the voice that athletes have is extremely important and specifically sailing with the ocean, all sailors love it so much and sometimes take it for granted.

“It's really important to spread the message and share what a healthy ocean should look like and how we can get back there again.”

Australia are currently leading season two of SailGP on 22 points, joint with Great Britain, but remain in pole position due to their work from the Impact League.

Australia’s Curtis said: “This is the first initiative like this within sport so we're really excited to take the lead.

“Sailing and oceans and water are really lovely, and closely linked. We're hoping by making a strong start so other teams and other sports will take notice and try to make the same changes we're making within our sport.

“We're hoping by making a strong start other teams and other sports will take notice and try to make the same changes we're making within our sport.

“We've got a few different initiatives and we've got a few exciting ones in the pipeline, one that will be announced in a few days’ time- got to keep that under wraps! - but you know all the small things, but especially with reducing single use plastics within the team.

“Absolutely, we really see this as there being two podiums at the end of the season- one with the sailing and one with the Impact League – so it's really important for us to fight as hard as we can and we've got a good second innings coming.”

The Impact League is a new initiative designed to make sustainability action essential to the fabric of sport. To find out more about the Impact League visit SailGP.com/ImpactLeague

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