Kingston shortlisted to host inaugural Sail Grand Prix event in Canada

Image via SailGP website.

Kingston is one of four Canadian cities shortlisted to host an event during SailGP 2023/2024 season.

A SailGP event in Canada would place the successful host city on the world stage, attracting visitors from around the globe and across the country, the organization said in a press release. The Grand Prix event would also generate significant economic impact, enliven the sailing community, and produce international media coverage that would “elevate the host city as an iconic waterfront destination alongside San Francisco, Saint-Tropez, Sydney and Copenhagen which are currently part of the world tour.”

The four cities chosen for the shortlist are Halifax, Nova Scotia; Montreal, Quebec; Kingston, Ontario; and Victoria, British Columbia.

“The domestic bid process was conducted over the past three months with presentations to over 10 Canadian waterfront cities capable of hosting a major event of the size and scale of SailGP,” said Russell Reimer, the President of Manifesto Sport Management who are managing the overall Canadian bid process.

According to Reimer, Kingston’s sailing heritage and long-standing track record of hosting sailing events are both “obvious strengths.”

“The exuberance of the bid committee led by John Curtis and Sue Fraser has been extraordinary,” he continued. “Should Kingston win the bid to host SailGP in Season four, it will fortify its claim as Canada’s sailing capital, welcome thousands of visitors and sailing enthusiasts from across Canada and the world generating approximately $20-million of economic impact, and work with the event organizers to accelerate the city’s drive toward greater sustainability.”

John Curtis, who is leading the bid effort for Kingston, is very excited by the news that the SailGP team is considering his bid, and noted that Kingston has hosted 53 Sailing World Championships, as well as the 1976 Olympic Sailing events.

“The reason why the world comes to Kingston to sail is simple — we have the wind and water conditions as well as the people with the skills to run great sailboat races,” he said. “SailGP brings their own race management team, so the fact that we have such great sailing conditions here and a 53-year track record is a huge advantage.”

He also noted that Kingston “punches well above its weight” insofar as producing great sailors, with no less than 25 Olympians and Olympic Coaches hailing from the Kingston Yacht Club since 1927, when sailing became part of the Olympic Games.

“Kingston is the ‘Freshwater Sailing Capital of the World,’” Curtis stated, sharing that the Limestone City has been welcoming the world’s best wind athletes annually for more than 50 years. “With SailGP, we’ll get to welcome 40 million sailing fans to Kingston via free livestreams. That is on a level of awareness for our community not seen since the final tragically hip concert,” he said.

According to Curtis, SailGP advises host cities that they prefer to run events for three to four years in their chosen locations.

“This really is a perfect event for Kingston to host, year after year,” he continued. “We have the wind, water, and warm friendly people to welcome the world. Our City declaration of a climate emergency has resonated with the selection committee, as SailGP is much more than just a Formula One race on the water, it’s a race to improve the way we treat our planet.”

According to the release, SailGP races for a better future, championing a world powered by nature. The world’s “most exciting race on water,” SailGP features national teams battling in short, intense races at iconic stadium-style venues across the globe, building to the grand final – and sailing’s top prize of US$1 million. The organization said that the high-tech, high-speed action features sailing’s best athletes racing in identical hydro foiling F50 catamarans, flying at speeds approaching 100 km/h.

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