SailGP has often billed itself as being Formula One on the water because it has the fastest boats and top skippers in the sport.
That analogy has come full circle now that retired F1 driver Sebastian Vettel is co-owner of the Germany SailGP Team, who are making their debut in Season 4 of tech baron Larry Ellison's global league.
After opening with two regattas in the United States, SailGP is on a three-regatta swing through Europe that starts with the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez on Saturday and Sunday.
To Vettel, speed is speed, whether it's flying down a straightaway at more than 200 mph in an F1 car or flying above waves approaching the equivalent of highway speeds in a 50-foot foiling catamaran. He's one of only a handful of people who have experienced both.
Vettel, who won four F1 championships before retiring in 2022, took the wheel of the German team's F-50 catamaran for some speed runs after the first day of racing in the Los Angeles regatta in late July.
Vettel said the catamaran hit about 40 mph. The top speed of an F-50 is about 60 mph when the wind is up and the cat is up on its foils, with the hulls completely out of the water to reduce drag and increase speed. The catamarans get their power from a wingsail that looks and performs like an airliner's wing.
"On the water, it's a very different feeling. It feels a lot higher," Vettel said of the speed. "Plus, I was impressed with the turns, the G-force and the manoeuvres you were able to do. And now we were on our own. You can only imagine when you've got others around you, it's a lot more exciting."
When all 10 boats are racing, it can be quite crazy as the world's top skippers jockey for position at high speed and sometimes in close quarters.
The ultimate goal is to achieve 100 per cent flight time, which is sailing an entire race on foils without the hulls ever touching the water. That probably won't happen in Saint-Tropez because the forecast is for light wind.
Once again Team Australia are the pacesetters.
Vettel's Team Germany are currently 10th in the 12 regatta-season.
He was looking for a new challenge after retiring from F1. Like all SailGP crewmembers, Vettel was outfitted with a crash helmet, flotation vest, an emergency oxygen supply and other survival gear because the sport can be dangerous.
Capsizes are common, such as Friday when the US crew, skippered by two-time America's Cup champion and Australian yachtsman Jimmy Spithill, rolled over when hit by a gust of wind during a slow-speed downwind manoeuvre in between practice races.
There were no injuries and minimal damage to the catamaran. Spithill is the defending Saint-Tropez champion.