Live action racing

The New Zealand Sail Grand Prix is coming for a two-day spectacle of action-packed racing and entertainment on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour, 18-19 March 2023. Event director Karl Budge previews what’s in store.

SailGP’s new breed of live action racing brings excitement on and off the water as the best sailors in the world, including Kiwis Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and the New Zealand SailGP Team, battle it out in identical hydrofoiling catamarans. Now it won’t be long, until Cantabrians can experience it for themselves.

Previous SailGP races, across three continents, in the current series have taken the world by storm, amassing a continually growing fan base, with the nine teams flying high, amid plenty of thrills, spills and boat-on-boat action to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Chief Commercial Officer and Event Director, Karl Budge promises more of the same excitement and action in the Christchurch races when the series makes its
New Zealand debut next summer.

SailGP Head of Event, Karl Budge

His ultimate vision for the event is to change the way that New Zealanders are entertained by sailing. “It’s so exciting to be sitting on land only a few metres from the sea and the sailing course.

“It’s live action sailing as you’ve never experienced it before. It has to be seen to be believed. You will see huge two tonne hydrofoiling catamarans fly weightless across the water at electrifying speeds; 15 metres long yet vying for glory that comes down to inches at the finish,” he explains.

The championship has seen year-on-year growth since launching in 2018 and Budge says there’s already been incredible growth in audiences domestically watching SailGP. “More than 100,000 are watching each race on YouTube alone,” he says.

“I think it will only accelerate further thanks to the energy and excitement of the events. SailGP is high-speed, high-tech and high drama, all set against a party atmosphere and experienced up close – so close that you can almost feel the spray on your face,” Budge adds.

See it. Feel it. Be there. 

Cantabrians will have their chance to watch the racing live each day, when tickets go on sale on 4 October on Ticketek. Options include catching the action from the waterfront, on the water or from the comfort of a hosted private area, although numbers will be limited to 4000 per day so it will pay to register early, says Karl.

Spectators will also be able to watch from the water, although there will be limited ability to launch close to the sailing course. Additional viewing available at a live site in the city centre.


Platinum Lawn
Soak up the action with a drink in hand on the exclusive Platinum Lawn, enjoying access to a prime viewing position and drinks and nibbles from an iconic pop-up restaurant. The party zone within the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, the Platinum Lawn offers an unmatched atmosphere with opportunities to rub shoulders with the stars and enjoy DJ sets and live entertainment with other guests.
$169 per person
Inclusive of drinks & nibbles and return transfers to the CBD. Tickets extremely limited.

Race Village
On the edge of the shore, along the final stretch of the course, the Race Village is the place to experience racing action and enjoy a range of offerings from some of Christchurch’s best-known restaurants. Grandstand seating gets you up close and personal with nine catamarans hurtling past at thrilling speeds, while you enjoy exciting entertainment and activations on site.
$75 per person
Inclusive return transfers to the CBD. Tickets extremely limited.

Shoreline Villas
The only private hospitality offering within the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, enjoy an exclusive villa right on the water’s edge for an action-packed experience with a five-hour premier food and beverage package tailor-made by a celebrity chef. From a private marquee with a covered balcony, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted viewing from the shore just metres from the action.

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