France's Riou is 1st female sailor in new SailGP league

SAN DIEGO — Olympian Marie Riou of France is the first female crew member to be announced for the new SailGP global racing league, which will begin competition next year in fast, foiling 50-foot catamarans.

The 37-year-old Riou will control the hydrofoils for France SailGP Team, which will be skippered by Billy Besson. The five-person team was announced Tuesday on Marseille Harbor, which will host the final regatta of the inaugural season, concluding with a $1 million, winner-take-all match race between the two top teams.

Besson and Riou have teamed up to win four world titles in the Nacra 17 catamaran class. They finished sixth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Riou says she's "deeply honored to be the first woman aboard the F50, and hope there will be others to follow as this inclusive league continues to build."

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