COWES Week will feature the British leg of exciting new world sailing series, SailGP.

The ‘Grand Prix’-style race series, which will feature six teams, was established by former America’s Cup holders Sir Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison, the American tech billionaire, who has pledged to bankroll the series for the first two years.

Competitors, which will include a British entry, skippered by former Olympian Dylan Fletcher.

They will each sail in foiling 50ft catamarans in a one-design series, making for a level playing field.

The series will be held across five Grand Prix-style events in Sydney, San Francisco, New York and Marseille, between February and September next year, with the British leg taking place over the opening weekend of Cowes Week, August 10-11, 2019.

The spectacular race will take centre stage in The Solent, just off Egypt Point, Cowes.

SailGP’s Race Village will be set up around Egypt Point — the focal point for watching the action, with large screens and live commentary, sports presentations, featuring the sailing teams, as well as many exhibits.

With the racing taking place just off Egypt Point, there will be a nearby spectator area for boats.

Isle of Wight County Press: Map of the SailGP race area at Cowes Week.Map of the SailGP race area at Cowes Week.

Fletcher, who will serve as helmsman on the British F50, said: “It’s awesome to be part of SailGP — such a fantastic opportunity to showcase sailing and produce a series of events that push the limits of what sail racing can look like around the globe.

“The best part of this will be the British leg of the event taking place during Cowes Week.

“Racing in front of a home crowd on home waters doesn’t get much better.”

Cowes Week regatta director, Laurence Mead, said he was delighted SailGP chose Cowes as an iconic location to host SailGP.

“There’s no doubt many thousands of our competitors and spectators will want to experience these incredible flying boats up close and, with planned courses just off the Green in Cowes, the view from the shore will be absolutely stunning.”

SailGP would use the ‘guts’ of AC50s used in the last Americas Cup, but rebuilt and called F50s, with each team supplied with a wingsailed model by Ellison — the vessel designed to reach speeds of up to 50 knots.

The top two teams will race for a winner-takes-all $1 million prize.