Sports

SailGP female competitors inspire next generation

People from around the world are in Halifax this weekend to watch and compete in Sail Grand Prix.

It’s expected to be an exciting weekend of competition, but also an inspirational one for young women and girls in sailing.

“I have a daughter, and just to see the grassroots support, and the huge influx of female sailors that are getting introduced to foiling has been absolutely awe-inspiring,” said Annie Haeger, Canada SailGP Team strategist.

Haeger is one of the many women competing. She’s happy the competition has finally made it to Canada.

“Racing in front of home fans is going to be absolutely everything. It feels like Christmas morning,” said Haeger.

This week leading up to the races has been thrilling for young sailor Grace Poole, who got to spend a day on the water with one of the teams.

“I’ve definitely known this type of sailing is what I wanted to do for quite some time, but that’s just one of those opportunities that makes me think I’m going down the right path and in the right direction,” said Poole.

Ten teams from around the world will be hitting the water.

“They have a lot of great athletes involved,” said Sarah Flanagan, Sail Nova Scotia president.

“Hannah Mills is one of the best sailors out there, and fingers crossed that one day she’ll drive [Emirates] GBR’s boat, we can hope. Then there’s amazing athletes like Katja [Salskov-Iverson] or Georgia Lewin-LaFrance, who’s from Nova Scotia and was a strategist for quite some time on Canada’s boat and her and her sister just qualified in 49er for the Olympics in Paris this summer.”

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Hannah Mills is a strategist for Emirates GBR SailGP Team.

“My role as the strategist is to try and give as much information to the driver about things that are going on, on the race course,” said Mills. “These boats are unbelievable. The speeds they do, and the wind speeds we get, is just insane.

“There’s nothing else like racing an F50.”

Lauren Murray has been sailing since she was a kid, and is currently part of an all-female crew in Halifax. She has seen the sport grow a lot since she first started.

“It is really inspiring to see that there is a path to kind of that professional sailing aspect down the road for those young sailors who are coming up through coaching programs and racing programs,” said Murray.

Murray and Flanagan will be cheering on Haeger and the rest of Team Canada this weekend.

“To know as soon as we launch the boat and get out on the water ‚Ķ we’ve got Canada there, and we have the hometown support,” said Haeger.

The races are expected to get underway at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It can be watched on CTV2.

Click here for a photo gallery of images from SailGP.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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