Women to race with men in SailGP series

Nina Curtis will race for Team Australia in a SailGP regatta this week for the first time.
Camera IconNina Curtis will race for Team Australia in a SailGP regatta this week for the first time. Credit: AP

SailGP will include female sailors in its adrenaline-filled racing for the first time this week by adding an extra crew position aboard its F50 catamarans.

Those competing would be Nina Curtis for Australia, Hannah Mills for Great Britain, Katja Salskov-Iversen for Denmark, Amelie Riou for France, Sena Takano for Japan, Erica Dawson for New Zealand, Andrea Emone for Spain and CJ Perez for the US.

The selection of Curtis comes after team helm Tom Slingsby initially invited the 33-year-old and Lisa Darmanin to join the Australian team - the reigning SailGP champions - for a development and training camp at the opening event of SailGP Season 2 in Bermuda.

Curtis, who has extensive experience in sailing, including winning Olympic Silver at the 2012 Games in Women's Match Racing and competing in the Ocean Volvo Race, then received the nod in May to join the SailGP team for the remainder of the season.

"In Bermuda, I went the fastest I've ever been on a boat before in my life. It wasn't a big deal for the boys, but for me, I've never been this fast before," Curtis said in May.

Mills, who who became the most successful female Olympic sailor when she and Eilidh McIntyre won gold in the 470 dinghy at Tokyo, said the "more professional opportunities there are, the more females will participate" in sailing.

"This is pretty groundbreaking for female sailors and the sport ... I know how inspiring it would have been for me when I was young," Mills told Reuters from Cadiz.

"It's adrenaline-fuelled like no other sailing I've ever done.

"The speed and the G-forces you get going round corners are absolutely phenomenal."

The $1 million ($A1.4m) prize sailing competition, co-founded in 2018 by Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and SailGP CEO Russell Coutts, is in its second season.

Eight crews will line up off Cadiz in Spain this weekend for the final event of its European leg.

with AP

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