Safety will be the top priority when boaters have front row seats to some of the most thrilling, action-packed sailing as SailGP kicks off on Sydney Harbour tomorrow.

NSW Maritime Executive Director Mark Hutchings said it would be the second year NSW Maritime has worked with SailGP to support the safe operation of the event on Sydney Harbour.

“Boaters are reminded these impressive catamarans are capable of breaking the 50-knot or the 100 km/h barrier, which is faster than most powered vessels,” Mr Hutchings said.

“Boat operators must not try to cut across the path of an approaching F50 and should take care around the exclusion zones which will be in place throughout the event, maintain a proper lookout and keep clear of ferries and other commercial vessels which will be moving through navigation channels next to the exclusion zones.”

Spectator vessels will not be able to stop or drift in these navigation channels throughout the event. Those watching the event will need to do so from the designated spectator areas.

“NSW Maritime will be working with emergency services and SailGP officials to ensure the safety of all water users by monitoring compliance with 6 knot navigation channels and dedicated spectator areas.”

Exclusion zones will be in place from 2pm to 5pm on 28 February and 3pm to 6pm on Saturday 29 February between Bradleys Head, Clark Island, Rose Bay and Vaucluse with ferries and other vessels to keep moving.

“This event will provide a unique challenge for on-water management and the event organisers will rely on last-minute weather forecasts to map out the course within the exclusion zones established by NSW Maritime, rather than a fixed plotted course,” Mr Hutchings said.

“These are world-class athletes from around the world representing Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, the United States and the defending champions, Australia.

“They will be competing in five short-format fleet races, followed by a match race between the top two teams with the event expected to finish Saturday afternoon around 5:40pm.”

The first of five spectacular high-speed races in 15 metre wing-sailed catamarans will be held from 3pm to 5pm tomorrow and continue from 4pm to 6pm on Saturday 29 February.

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