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Category: ‘Sailing’

First Ship In Branson’s New Fleet Arrives In UK To ‘Shake Up’ The Booming Cruise Industry

  • Scarlet Lady,  first of new fleet of 4 Virgin Voyages cruise ships arrives in Dover
  • Aims to bring ‘Rock Star’ cruising’ to a booming sector
  • No kids on board as Branson targets an adults-only younger cruising audience
  • On-board formal dinners and dances replaced by gigs, tattoo parlours & vinyl stores
  • Massive Rockstar suites include mini music studios
  • Cruise passenger numbers have doubled in a decade and sector now worth $150 billion

At Sea, 20th February 2020 –  The first of Sir Richard Branson’s brand new fleet of cruise ships which aims to shake up the cruise industry arrives in the UK. Scarlet Lady is the first of four Virgin Voyages ships that will come into service each year for the next four years.

Virgin Voyages aims to do to the booming cruise industry what it did to the airline industry when Virgin Atlantic launched. Its fleet of four ships known as the ‘Lady ships’ will offer adults only, rock ‘n roll cruising to a new audience.

Globally the cruise industry is booming with passenger numbers almost doubling in the past decade from 17.8 million in 2009 to a forecast 32 million this year.

The latest cruise industry report reveals there are now 55 cruise lines globally with a total of 278 ocean ships and another 19 scheduled to debut in 2020 including Scarlet Lady. According to the same report the cruise industry is worth $150 billion worldwide and sustains 1,177,000 jobs.

Branson has spotted an opportunity in this growing sector. The average age of cruise passengers is getting younger and Virgin Voyages believe this new generation of sailors want a different kind of cruise holiday.

Virgin Voyages believes couples in their twenties, thirties and forties want a cruise experience that isn’t either high end formal or family friendly with theme park style rides.

The cruise line, set to make its maiden voyages in April, boasts state-of-the-art technology and opulent features, including a champagne delivery service, to ensure the ultimate passenger experience. 

Other features include:

– 1,330 cabins and 78 Rockstar suites, two of which offer the full rock star treatment with their own music rooms with their own guitars and amplifiers

– No buffets and big dining halls; Scarlet Lady has over 20 eateries ranging from brunch bars to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs

– Traditional tourist excursions at local ports will be replaced with visits to exclusive beach clubs

– Entertainment on board will be more festival-like in its offering with gigs, nightclubs, comedians, drag artists, and a variety of unusual shows

– Scarlet Lady has its own vinyl record shop and the first ever tattoo studio on board a cruise ship

– A major focus on wellness with spas, gyms, yoga, wellness pools and even a mud room

Virgin Voyages are also keen to emphasise the fleet’s green credentials; the company has banned single use plastics on board, is converting engine waste heat into clean electricity and exploring turning on-board waste into energy.

And as you’d expect from Virgin the crew will be dressed in unique uniforms.

Scarlet Lady will arrive in the UK after her five-day inaugural voyage undergoing sea trials from Genoa in Italy where she was built at the Fincantieri shipyard.

From Dover, she will head to Liverpool for two days before heading across the Atlantic for a star-studded reception in New York and then on to Miami where she will based and make her inaugural passenger voyage around the Caribbean in April.

Routes on offer include a five-day sailing to Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and a quick getaway to Key West and Bahamas.

The ship will later be joined by sister liner Valiant Lady which features seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain when she debuts in May 2021.

SailGP Global Racing League Unveiled At Spectacular London Launch

  • SailGP setting out to redefine sailing with thrilling new fan-centric grand prix racing circuit
  • International league to feature six national teams, visiting five iconic, inshore venues starting with Sydney in February 2019
  • Teams will race identical wingsailed F50s – supercharged catamarans capable of breaking the 50-knot barrier
  • Season culminates with single, $1 million match-race final between top two teams

Story: LONDON SailGP today set out to redefine sailing with the launch of its new global racing league: five grand prix events featuring six national teams on identical wingsailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans. Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts, in season one, SailGP will bring intensely competitive, high-speed inshore racing to fans in Sydney; San Francisco; New York; Cowes, U.K.; and Marseille, France, as world-class crews compete for the championship trophy and a $1 million prize.

Kicking off in February 2019, SailGP’s inaugural season will feature teams representing six countries – Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States. Each five-person crew will race on identical 50-foot foiling catamarans. A new boat class, the F50 is a redesigned, supercharged incarnation of the exceptional AC50 used for the 35th America’s Cup last year. Twelve months in development at the hands of pioneering technicians and engineers at Core Builders Composites in New Zealand, the F50s are expected to break the 50-knot (60mph/100kph) barrier.

“SailGP is the evolution of sailing,” said Ellison, SailGP founder. “With equally incredible technology across our one-design fleet, we expect to see thrillingly close and competitive racing amongst national teams. And, with a modern, consistent format, SailGP will provide a new opportunity for talented sailors who want to race for their countries.”

“SailGP distills all of the most successful, exciting and relevant elements of high-performance, professional racing, while adding the extra edge that comes with nation-versus-nation competition,” said Coutts, SailGP CEO. “We are aiming to be pioneers of new technologies, boat design, commercial partnerships and global audience engagement. But with every crew on the same groundbreaking F50 catamaran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ultimate test to establish the best sailing team in advanced foiling catamarans.”

Sanctioned by World Sailing, each grand prix will comprise two competition days with five fleet races, culminating in a final match race between the two leaders. After SailGP’s Sydney inauguration in February (15-16), the league moves on to San Francisco in May (4-5), New York in June (21-22), and Cowes in August (10-11), before the Marseille final in September (20-22), which features a winner-takes-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.

“World Sailing is thrilled to be working with SailGP to bring a new, exciting and fan-friendly elite racing league to life,” said World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt. “SailGP is an ambitious project that is spearheaded by an incredible forward-thinking leadership team. We’re excited about SailGP’s commitment to innovate and advance the sport forward and by working in partnership, we will aim to inspire millions more people to fall in love with sailing.”

SailGP was created by Ellison and Coutts, who have been instrumental in the commercial development of competitive sailing. The innovative new professional sailing league – featuring an ongoing calendar of premium global racing among national teams in the world’s most advanced catamarans – will engage the next generation of fans and create a pathway for future sailors. SailGP will be a commercially driven sports property, eventually maturing to a franchise model. 

Renowned luxury house Louis Vuitton, which partners with the world’s biggest sporting events and packs the most legendary trophies; Oracle, industry-leading global provider of enterprise cloud computing; and Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles, join SailGP as founding partners. Additional details and sponsors will be announced at a future date.

With a primary goal of growing global viewership and broadening its fanbase, SailGP’s broadcast plans focus on comprehensive live coverage complemented by centrally produced highlight programs, and cutting-edge screen applications and services. Whisper Films has been appointed as the league’s host broadcast production partner and will play a key role in delivering a personality-driven broadcast utilizing patented and leading-edge immersive media technologies, while Talisman Sports and Media is handling global media rights distribution.

The Great Britain SailGP Team was also introduced to home fans during the London launch. Skippered by Rio 2016 Olympian and world champion Dylan Fletcher, Great Britain’s vastly experienced crew includes Olympic bronze medalist Chris Draper as team CEO and wing trimmer, Olympic silver medalist Stuart Bithell as flight controller, and Olympic champion rower Matt Gotrel and Extreme Sailing Series winner Richard Mason as grinders.

“The concept of SailGP immediately excited me,” said Great Britain helmsman Dylan Fletcher. “This league allows us to compete with and against the best, and to challenge ourselves in every way possible while sailing the world’s fastest catamarans. We have the opportunity to push the limits of our sport, and this is a very proud chapter in my career. What Larry and Russell have created is truly unique, and I am confident it will capture the attention of audiences around the world.”

The launch event took place at Tower Bridge in London. Following the formal program hosted by ITV’s Ben Shephard and featuring addresses by Ellison, Coutts, Hunt and members of the Great Britain SailGP Team, a visual and sensory display on the Thames’ South Bank provided a first look at what SailGP will bring to audiences around the world.

Shows:

00:00:01:00 – 00:01:36:16

Launch Event VT

Sir Russell Coutts, SailGP CEO

Dylan Fletcher, Great Britain SailGP Team Helmsman

00:01:37:07 – 00:02:45:24

Dylan Fletcher – Great Britain SailGP Team Helmsmen

00:02:45:24 – 00:04:22:17

Sir Russell Coutts – SailGP CEO

00:04:22:18 – 00:05:19:08

Andy Hunt – World Sailing CEO

00:05:19:09 – 00:07:00:00

B-Roll & Event GVS

Other: ABOUT SAILGP

SailGP is sailing redefined. Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and San Francisco, SailGP is an annual, global sports league featuring bold, cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism. The fan-centric, inshore racing takes place in some of the most iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States battle it out in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, engineered for intense racing at electrifying speeds exceeding 50 knots (nearly 60 mph/100 kph). Visit SailGP.com for more information.

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Oct, 04, 2018

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