Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Winner of the Extreme Sailing Series Sete, France

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Winner of the Extreme Sailing Series Sete, France

 Yann Guichard’s men proved to be unstoppable at the first round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series in Sète, France, claiming overall victory and firmly throwing down the gauntlet to the other seven teams for the remainder of the season: “We sailed really well today! On the last race, we had quite a bad start but we managed to find a little gap to go through… As I say often, the most important thing is to stay out of trouble and make less mistakes than the others. I would like to say a huge thank you to my crew because without them, we cannot do anything,” said Guichard. “I managed to put the boat in some pretty scary situations but thanks to them that doesn’t cause any trouble, so a big thank you to them.”

The forecasted Mistral conditions finally kicked in truly entertaining the crowds packed along the Môle, the beaches and the headland – an estimated 16,500 spectators watching the first event. The Extreme 40 crews were pushed to the limit in the strong gusts, teetering on the edge of disaster numerous times.

Second place on the overall podium went to Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah who finished no lower than fourth in any of today’s five races propelling them ahead of Paul Campbell-James’ The Wave, Muscat: “Maybe my experience helped a little in taking second from The Wave, Muscat,” said Peyron, “But it is not just me, it is a team effort and without these guys it would be nothing. ‘CJ’ did a tremendous job and I am very happy, this is exactly what we were looking for to see both teams on the podium – it is a perfect finish. Second was the right place for us – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were really consistent all event and deserve to win. We are pretty happy with the result, it wasn’t easy but every day was better, sometimes it was very bad but that gives us space to improve for next time.”

Groupama 40 (Photo by Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / OC Events )

Groupama 40 (Photo by Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / OC Events )

Third at the end of the first day of racing, then fourth on the second and third days, Groupama 40 slid down one more place on this last day of racing, following the cancellation of the final race. It’s a cruel blow but Franck Cammas and his crew have their minds on their four race victories out of the 20 contested, as well as the progress they need to make to perform better during the next events. 

The day did in fact start off very well for the Groupama Team on the race zone of Sète, with a second, first, fourth and sixth place during the first four races. At that stage in the race, Groupama 40 was still in with a chance of making the top three as she was just five points shy of The Wave Muscat and had a sizeable lead over Ecover.

Next up, race management announced a further two races in a steadily increasing wind, but Groupama 40 messed up the start of the 20th race. She then managed to get back into the action, before being forced to make a last chance manoeuvre to respect the rules of priority with another boat on the final upwind leg. After having to come to a complete standstill, Franck and his crew dug deep to catch up with the backrunners, before being blocked again as they tried to round the mark. They ultimately crossed the finish line in last position, whilst their direct rival Ecover, won the race. As such Groupama 40 lost all the advantage gained over her very good opening races.

After putting in a reef for what was set to be the final race, which counts for double points, Franck Cammas and his crew prepared to give it their all to get past Ecover and hang onto her fourth place in the overall ranking.

However, that’s where their luck ran out as the race committee decided not to take any chances in a wind which could have peaked at as much as 30 knots late in the day. As a result their previous result came back to haunt them as their last place now counted for double, enabling Ecover to get ahead of Groupama 40 in the overall ranking, without even having to race.

Back alongside, Franck Cammas and his crew were clearly disappointed by the outcome: “It’s a shame because we hadn’t sailed badly and we were making steady progress over each of the twenty races contested” but they were nonetheless realistic: “The top two, Groupe Edmond de Rothshild and Oman Masirah are a notch better than us. If we want to be in a position to beat them during the next races, we’re going to have to get off to some better starts and be more consistent. That’s the strength they have right now” explained the skipper of Groupama 40.

Keenly followed by the vast number of spectators thronging around the Saint Louis jetty, especially on Sunday, this first event in the Extreme Sailing Series in Sète has been a great success with some very fine winners, who didn’t let the top spot slip away from them throughout the four days of racing.

His team is now dismantling Groupama 40, so as he can join up with her again in Lorient and then Cowes, where the next event will be held at the start of August. Meanwhile Franck Cammas will get back to the rest of his Team in Lorient to assist them with the relaunch of the maxi trimaran Groupama 3, the recent winner of the Jules Verne Trophy, aboard which he will compete in the next edition of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale. 

Extreme 40 Fleet In Sete, France (Photo by Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / OC Events )

Extreme 40 Fleet In Sete, France (Photo by Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / OC Events )

Extreme 40's Race In iShares Cup In Hyeres, France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Extreme 40's Race In iShares Cup In Hyeres, France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Whilst football fans around the world obsess about the selection of their World Cup national squad, all bar one of the Extreme 40 teams have now confirmed their ‘squads’ for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series that kick-offs in a week’s time on the south coast of France at Sète from 27th-30th. Eight international teams will be on the start line to battle it out over five events across Europe this summer. At the mercy of the on-water referees, the teams racing their high-speed 40′ catamarans will be hoping to avoid any ‘sending offs’! But on race courses that on average only equal the size of six football pitches, the teams are constantly engaged in close combat that frequently result in punishable infringements.

(Photo by Thierry Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events)


Across the fleet of 32 sailors there are two double Olympic Gold medallists, 61 World and 37 European Championship titles, 20 Round the World navigations, 20 America’s Cups sailed and 39 sailing records held or broken amongst the 14 nationalities.

Three top French skippers will be taking the helms of Extreme 40s this year – Franck Cammas, Yann Guichard and Loick Peyron. Franck Cammas, fresh from his Jules Verne Trophy record-breaking circumnavigation, will drive Groupama 40. Cammas will be joined by former America’s Cup sailor Tanguy Cariou (FRA) as his tactician: “We’ve spent the winter capturing the Jules Verne Trophy with an amazing team onboard Groupama 3, and so Groupama 40 looks pretty small!” Cammas joked. “But we like these close-quarter regattas. Our business is all about sailing so, big or small, in a team, or alone, it’s not important. It’s all about the sailing.”

Experienced offshore multihull sailor, Yann Guichard will once again be helming the Gitana Team entry, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Guichard finished an impressive second last season: “2009 was the year we discovered the Extreme Sailing Series and the style of Extreme 40 regattas: the notion of sport as a spectacle! We soon learnt that consistency pays and to perform well in this series and to post good results, you need to navigate really well and not have any on-the-water contact with your competitors.”

(Photo by Yvan Zedda / Gitana SA)


The final French skipper is ‘Mr Multihull’ himself, Loick Peyron who recently helmed Alinghi in the 33rd America’s Cup. Peyron has ‘jumped ship’ from one Oman Sail Extreme 40 to the other and for 2010 will skipper and helm Oman Sail Masirah. Peyron will be joined by the 2009 skipper, now trimmer and team manager, Pete Cumming (GBR). The Sultanate of Oman, as in the previous seasons, has a second entry in the circuit with The Wave, Muscat, skippered by British talent Paul Campbell-James (GBR). An experienced matchracer, ‘CJ’ demonstrated his aggressive starting talent on the winter Asia tour. Joining him will be the first Omani who has progressed through the Oman Sail Academy and now racing as a professional sailor, Khamis Al Anbouri (OMA).

(Photo by Mark Lloyd)


Following his debut in the inaugural Asian Extreme Sailing Series, double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara (AUT) will be joined by his Olympic crew Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT) for the Red Bull Extreme Sailing entry. Racing alongside Hagara will be Gabriele Olivo (ITA) and David Vera (ESP), both of whom participated in the last Volvo Ocean Race with the Spanish Telefonica team. Red Bull Extreme Sailing boasts a good balance between offshore and inshore racing experience and talent and will be strong contenders for a podium position.

Veteran Extreme 40 sailor, Nick Moloney (AUS) is back as skipper of the new entry Team GAC Pindar. From the America’s Cup to the solo Route du Rhum and Vendée Globe, and the Jules Verne Trophy, Moloney has seen it all! Helming the British entry Team GAC Pindar is British Tornado sailor Andrew Walsh. Joining them will be Fraser Brown (NZL), another very experienced Extreme 40 player and Team Pindar’s Olly Smith (GBR): a promising combination of talent.

Finally, one of Great Britain’s most accomplished single-handed sailors ever, with two IMOCA World Champion titles, a third in the solo Vendée Globe, Mike Golding returns to the circuit with an all-British line up in the Ecover Sailing Team. Golding will receive a shot in the arm from the combined Olympic Tornado talents of Leigh McMillan, Team GBR’s catamaran helmsman at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics, and Will Howden. Golding commented: “Training has gone really well. Will and Leigh have a great synergy onboard, so it has been a very smooth process working in the role changes. 2009 was a learning curve for all of us, and I hope this year will see us raise the bar in terms of performance on the water. Leigh will be fantastic on the helm, and we intend to make an impact on the leaderboard this season”.

(Photo by Mark Lloyd)
And with just one final team racing under the flag of The Ocean Racing Club in Slovenia, due to announce early next week, there will now be eight teams on the start line: “It’s a hugely impressive line-up again this year, the quality and depth of experience of the sailors increases year on year and guarantees us some spectacular action,” said Event Director, Gilles Chiorri. With more days racing than ever before, the four-day events will challenge every aspect of tactics, speed and finesse for the top international sailors.

BT Extreme 40 In Amsterdam (Photo by Thierry Martinez /Sea & Co/BT Team Ellen)

BT Extreme 40 In Amsterdam (Photo by Thierry Martinez /Sea & Co/BT Team Ellen)

One of Europe’s most iconic sailing venues will welcome back the Extreme Sailing Series this summer for the second leg of the five-event circuit.

The home of UK yacht racing, Cowes on the Isle of Wight will host the only UK stop. The ‘Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week’ will build on the success of 2009 where the Extreme 40 racing was a key attraction during this world famous regatta, with celebrities Simon Le Bon, Ben Fogle and Brawn F1 chief Nick Fry vying for 5th man spots on board, and BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank performing a live set in the public bar. The racing in 2010 will be held later in the day, from 5pm on some days, to ensure the sailors taking part in Cowes Week as well as the general public can enjoy the great entertainment on the water while enjoying a relaxed drink, food, commentary and music at the Egypt Point race village.

Gilles Chiorri, Event Director for OC Events, commented: “The Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week was a huge success in 2009 with not only the general public lining the seafront to watch the sailing, but sailors racing in other classes heading down to Egypt Point as soon as they finished their own racing to watch the Extreme 40 spectacle. We hope to continue that trend in 2010 with much of the racing starting after the main Cowes Week fleets have finished – there will be plenty to see and do at Egypt Point and we look forward to welcoming everyone there.”

Stuart Quarrie, CEO of Cowes Week Limited added, “We’re delighted to welcome the Extreme 40s back to Cowes Week in 2010. Last year the racing added hugely to the great spectacle of our regatta and, having taken onboard the feedback received, we’re delighted that some of the racing will be held later in the day enabling more Cowes Week sailors to enjoy the spectacle too.”

Four of the five venues have now been confirmed for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series European circuit with the final venue announcement due on 21 April. With more races scheduled than ever before, the 2010 circuit will see up to ten teams battling it out for the title, won in 2009 by Pete Cumming (GBR) and his crew on Oman Sail Masirah.

In a change to the 2009 format, every day of sailing will count in 2010 – four days of points scoring racing in Sète (FRA), Trapani (ITA) and Almería (ESP) – whilst the organisers, OC Events, will capitalise on the only UK leg being played out at the same time as Cowes Week with six days of racing for the teams. The opening day in each venue is a dedicated point-scoring ‘Media Day’ with all fifth man slots reserved for journalists and reporters and the remaining days will play host to not only the Media but VIP guests, with courses laid close to shore to entertain the general public.

The calendar for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series Europe is confirmed as:

Sète, France 27 – 30 May
Cowes, United Kingdom 31 July – 5 August
Germany 26 – 29 August
Trapani, Italy 23 – 26 September
Almería, Spain 9 – 12 October

Red Bull Extreme 40 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Red Bull Extreme 40 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Thousands gathered on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia to see the six teams race in the biggest breeze so far – not only of the Asian series but the entire 2009 European series! With 25 knots of wind that accelerated the boats downwind at speeds of 30km per hour, this was white-knuckle racing for the sailors in fully testing conditions and a capsize for Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team…

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Nose dives, rooster tails, close calls, penalties, breakages, fraught mark roundings… For the sailors it was physical and stressful, for the spectators it was pure entertainment drawing cheers as the six teams threw themselves around the short race track.

Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party�  Event in Muscat
Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party� Event in Muscat
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

For the Omani public the two-day ‘Extreme Beach Party‘ kicked off on Al-Hail beach to the west of the capital city with the Red Bull Street Style competition, five-a-side football tournament and the Arsenal soccer school open for business, alongside ‘try-sailing’ sessions. With local radio Hai FM keeping the crowds they had plenty to entertain them both on and off the water.

Back on the water, boat handling and precision gennaker hoists and drops proved crucial… The six boats raced with a reef and for the first two races without their massive gennakers, but the race committee finally gave the nod for the sails to be used in the remaining races.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Inevitably the pressure piled on and Red Bull Extreme Sailing, still leading overall, got caught out in race 5. Trying to hold on to their huge gennaker for as long as they dare as they approached the final downwind mark, the furl wasn’t slick enough, and the breeze caught in the sail enough to tip them over as they attempted to round the mark for the final sprint to the finish line. Skipper Roman Hagara, was taken to hospital to have stitches put in his hand. Game over, not only for the day’s racing but also as the team had to relinquish their overall lead to Thierry Barot’s China Team, helmed by Hugh Styles, on the penultimate day of the Muscat event – the final round in the Asian Extreme Sailing Series. Hugh: “We had a few little curve balls at the start of the day and we were last in the first race. But we just tried to keep clean and out of trouble, especially coming into the top mark. Tomorrow’s another day and we’re looking forward to doing better.”

The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Oman Sail’s Masirah had the best day on the water today – languishing in 4th place overall after yesterday’s match racing session – Pete Cumming’s team scored the most points to elevate Masirah to 3rd in the overall standings with 70 points, just behind their stablemate The Wave, Muscat now in 2nd place going into the final day of racing tomorrow. Bowman, Khamis Al Anbourri, “Today we had 25 knots – a really amazing day! Earlier in the day we were doing some practice match racing with Shirley and it just got windier so we put a reef in. We didn’t use gennakers in the first two races then we were allowed to use them. It was quite hard work and all the time concentrating to go faster. This is the windiest conditions I’ve raced in – we’ve been waiting for conditions like this in Oman to show the people it’s a really amazing sport, hard work but wonderful.”

Oman Sail Masirah have come to the final Asian event in Muscat holding the series lead and their first performance over the first three days was starting to look worrying but now they are back on form and there is no doubt the team are fully motivated to win on home soil.

BT and Rumbo Almeria may not have had the best day on the water but saved their best performance till the final race scoring a first and a second place.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event which will see the event and overall series trophies claimed. With a similar weather conditions expected tomorrow – the stakes could not be higher!

Thousands gathered on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia to see the six teams race in the biggest breeze so far – not only of the Asian series but the entire 2009 European series! With 25 knots of wind that accelerated the boats downwind at speeds of 30km per hour, this was white-knuckle racing for the sailors in fully testing conditions and a capsize for Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team…

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Nose dives, rooster tails, close calls, penalties, breakages, fraught mark roundings… For the sailors it was physical and stressful, for the spectators it was pure entertainment drawing cheers as the six teams threw themselves around the short race track.

Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party�  Event in Muscat
Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party� Event in Muscat
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

For the Omani public the two-day ‘Extreme Beach Party‘ kicked off on Al-Hail beach to the west of the capital city with the Red Bull Street Style competition, five-a-side football tournament and the Arsenal soccer school open for business, alongside ‘try-sailing’ sessions. With local radio Hai FM keeping the crowds they had plenty to entertain them both on and off the water.

Back on the water, boat handling and precision gennaker hoists and drops proved crucial… The six boats raced with a reef and for the first two races without their massive gennakers, but the race committee finally gave the nod for the sails to be used in the remaining races.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Inevitably the pressure piled on and Red Bull Extreme Sailing, still leading overall, got caught out in race 5. Trying to hold on to their huge gennaker for as long as they dare as they approached the final downwind mark, the furl wasn’t slick enough, and the breeze caught in the sail enough to tip them over as they attempted to round the mark for the final sprint to the finish line. Skipper Roman Hagara, was taken to hospital to have stitches put in his hand. Game over, not only for the day’s racing but also as the team had to relinquish their overall lead to Thierry Barot’s China Team, helmed by Hugh Styles, on the penultimate day of the Muscat event – the final round in the Asian Extreme Sailing Series. Hugh: “We had a few little curve balls at the start of the day and we were last in the first race. But we just tried to keep clean and out of trouble, especially coming into the top mark. Tomorrow’s another day and we’re looking forward to doing better.”

The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Oman Sail’s Masirah had the best day on the water today – languishing in 4th place overall after yesterday’s match racing session – Pete Cumming’s team scored the most points to elevate Masirah to 3rd in the overall standings with 70 points, just behind their stablemate The Wave, Muscat now in 2nd place going into the final day of racing tomorrow. Bowman, Khamis Al Anbourri, “Today we had 25 knots – a really amazing day! Earlier in the day we were doing some practice match racing with Shirley and it just got windier so we put a reef in. We didn’t use gennakers in the first two races then we were allowed to use them. It was quite hard work and all the time concentrating to go faster. This is the windiest conditions I’ve raced in – we’ve been waiting for conditions like this in Oman to show the people it’s a really amazing sport, hard work but wonderful.”

Oman Sail Masirah have come to the final Asian event in Muscat holding the series lead and their first performance over the first three days was starting to look worrying but now they are back on form and there is no doubt the team are fully motivated to win on home soil.

BT and Rumbo Almeria may not have had the best day on the water but saved their best performance till the final race scoring a first and a second place.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event which will see the event and overall series trophies claimed. With a similar weather conditions expected tomorrow – the stakes could not be higher!

Light Airs For Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Light Airs For Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

 

The opening day of racing at The Wave, Muscat required a touch of finesse by the sailors onboard the six Extreme 40s taking part in the final round of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia as they battled with light winds all afternoon.

Renowned light-air specialists Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing, finished the first day as top boat – with a lead of seven points over China Team – who are keeping a tight hold on their current overall 2nd placed position – and The Wave, Muscat.

Roman Hagara, Skipper Of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Leader After Day 1 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Roman Hagara, Skipper Of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Leader After Day 1 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Double Olympic Gold Medallist, Roman Hagara (AUT) was pleased with his team’s performance on the opening day. “A good beginning. The difference today was we had really good starts, and once you are in the front with these courses in the light wind it is easy to stay in the front.” His tactician, Hans Peter Steinacher, agreed, “After a week of training we’ve had here in Oman it feels good on the boat. We have more time to look for the wind as our manoeuvres become more natural. It gets better and better. The secret in these light airs? Go as fast a possible over the line, it doesn’t matter in which position – that’s the clue!”

With the wind reaching a maximum of 9 knots, it was a slow afternoon for the Extreme 40s, requiring more brain than brawn to get round the four courses. With the tougher ‘reaching’ starts, when the wind hits the start line from the side, rather than the more usual head on or from behind, some of the teams struggled to adjust and found themselves blocked and unable to get over the line cleanly. Current overall leaders of the Asian circuit, Oman Sail’s Masirah, was one such team as skipper Pete Cumming explained. “It was tricky today, definitely not the 10-15 knots I predicted the fleet would get yeterday. The wind just died away and it was really hard racing. The sea was quite sloppy as we had a good wind this morning and the courses were tough so the fleet got spread out and there aren’t many over-taking lanes.

“We couldn’t get off the start line cleanly today, a lot of reaching starts and we should be better at them. We’ve done enough of them in training so it shouldn’t be an excuse. Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll be looking for less sixth places and more firsts!”

Picture The Wave Muscat Skippered by Paul Campbell-James(GBR) leading Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara(AUT) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Picture The Wave Muscat Skippered by Paul Campbell-James(GBR) leading Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara(AUT) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Watching the racing at The Wave, Muscat, was a delegation of statesmen from the Omani and Singaporean governments, to see the naming of The Jewel of Muscat, a traditionally built sailing vessel, using techniques and skills over 2,000 years old. It was an extraordinary sight as The Jewel of Muscat sailed through the fleet of state-of-the art Extreme 40s. Pete Cumming, skipper of Masirah commented, “There was 2,000 years of sailing history out there today. For the Oman Sail project we had every extreme – every arm of the project designed to reignite the Sultanate’s sailing heritage. There was the Jewel of Muscat, the historical part, and then you have the 2010 version of the Jewel of Muscat with the Extreme 40!”

Red Bull Extreme Sailing’s two firsts and two seconds put them in first place, seven points ahead of China Team and The Wave, Muscat. “It was a little frustrating as we didn’t start well today and our position at the finish didn’t always relate to our position at the start,” commented The Wave, Muscat Skipper Paul Campbell-James. “We’ll be looking for a bit of a better day with our starts tomorrow and I think we will be pushing Red Bull Extreme Sailing for the lead. They had a great day today.”

Hugh Styles, the helmsmen onboard China Team also found the going hard. “It was tough today. Everything was about being clean off the line and we did a pretty good job in the firt two races and we are pleased with how we were sailing the boat today. We only had yesterday’s day of practice so it has come together pretty nicely.

extreme-sailing-asia-day-1

Extreme Sailing Asia Day 1 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/LLoyd Images/OC Events)

“It’s such a unique location here sailing in the mouth of a harbour and having all the dignatries watching it does give a bit of added pressure to it. You aren’t just sailing in front of a crowd of, you are sailing in front of government officials – you have to perform well!”

The second day of racing will begin at 2pm tomorrow, Tuesday 2 February.

Results after day 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia:

Red Bull Extreme Sailing – 22 points
CHINA TEAM – 15 points
The Wave, Muscat – 15 points
Rumbo Almeria – 12 points
Masirah – 11 points
BT – 9 points

The Wave, Muscat Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Paul Campbell-James(GBR) With Alister Richardson(GBR),Khamis Al Bourrai(OMA),Greg Homann(AUS) (Phot by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

The Wave, Muscat Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Paul Campbell-James(GBR) With Alister Richardson(GBR),Khamis Al Bourrai(OMA),Greg Homann(AUS) (Phot by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

It was a long and tiring day for the top international sailors in Muscat today as they had their final shakedown before the start of the final round of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia tomorrow, 1 February 2010.
 

The super-fast and super-colourful Extreme 40s left The Wave, Muscat just after 11am for the first start, a downwind leg all the way to Port Sultan Qaboos. It took these state of the art catamarans just 1 hour and 10 minutes to cover the 18 nautical mile (20 mile) course and Double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara, the Skipper of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, ended the day with a smile.

“A perfect day I think! The wind was building and nice conditions going downwind with the spinnaker all the way along the coast and then inside to Muscat. We had to concentrate on the racing, but our guests told us that the mountains and the city of Muscat look beautiful from the water. It’s a good place and we especially like the temperature!” The Red Bull Extreme Sailing team, currently in joint third overall with The Wave, Muscat, will be looking for a strong performance this week. “Our aspirations for the week? We’ll try to finish in the top three. We will see how it goes. For the final leg of the Series we have a new trimmer onboard [Gabi Olivio] and we have to work out our positions and how everything fits together and then we will see what comes.”
 
There are eight nationalities of sailors racing this week, including the only Frenchman in the Extreme 40 Asia circuit, Thierry Barot, skipper of CHINA TEAM. “Today was very nice sailing, the way out and back. The scenery is impressive, very surprising and dramatic. We didn’t have the best day on the water though. For us, it was hard restarting as a team again after the second round in Singapore six weeks ago. The first long race down to the port was good as we finished first, but we found the two shorter races difficult, and so we need to focus on our crew work. We weren’t on the same form as Singapore, it was hard work today, so we’ll have to concentrate on getting back and finding a good solution for the first start tomorrow.

“Overall, we lie second equal with BT and we want to stay in that position by the end on Friday, we want to make sure it is ours,” he concluded.
 

Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet In Muscat  (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet In Muscat (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

A full race committee team has been flown in for the five-day series including a Principal Race Officer and on-the-water umpires, similar to referees in football. It’s the first time Oman has seen a regatta of international standard take place in its waters. Masirah skipper, Pete Cumming, winner of the European Extreme Sailing Series commented, “It’s great to have everyone here in Oman and seeing what great race conditions we have to offer. The wind here isn’t going to be anywhere near as tricky or shifty as Hong kong or Singapore so it will be more down to boat handling and traditional racing. If the wind stays true, which it normally does, we’ll have 10-15 knots and everyone will have a good week, get the hammer down a bit more and put on a spectacular display. It will be like sailing on an open ocean.”
 
The first three days of racing will be dedicated to VIP and media sailing – an opportunity for sponsors, business associates and journalists to step onboard the catamarans and join the four-man crew race in the ‘fifth-man’ position. The weekend (4th and 5th February) will be open to all with an Extreme Beach Party at Al Hail beach including a five-aside football tournament, which 60 teams have currently signed up for, volleyball matches, ‘Try-Sailing’ sessions and family entertainment. Oman Sail core crew member, Khamis Al Anbourri, who sails onboard The Wave, Muscat, is looking forward to showing the Omani public just what competing on a professional race circuit involves. “It’s been a really great day. The final race, the long race back to The Wave, we showed the other teams who we are and came first! We have been training for the past week with just one other team, so to have the rest of the other boats here, it’s been great to have them together and a great experience for us.

“For me to sail against these sailors who have won Olympic Gold and Silver medals and World Champions – they are famous sailors – it is a great honour for me to sail against them and also alongside them. I have been waiting for this opportunity to race here in the Omani waters with the Extreme 40s. To show the Omanis what the sport of sailing is and how much fun it is, and trying to encourage them to come to the sailing world. I think they’ll see a spectacular show at the weekend. We will do everything we can to win this week for Oman!”

Oman Sail Masirah". Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Pete Cumming(GBR),Leigh McMillan(GBR),Mark Bulkeley(GBR),Nasser Al Mashari(OMA) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Event)

Oman Sail Masirah". Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Pete Cumming(GBR),Leigh McMillan(GBR),Mark Bulkeley(GBR),Nasser Al Mashari(OMA) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Event)

 
Racing begins at 2.30pm Monday 1st February at The Wave, Muscat and Al Hail Beach.

Standings after two events (Hong Kong and Singapore):

1. Oman Sail Masirah
2. China Team
3. BT
4. The Wave, Muscat
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing
6. Rumbo Almeria

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team". Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Roman Hagara(AUT),Hans Peter Steinacher(AUT),Gabriele Olivo(ITA),David Vera(ESP)(Phot by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Roman Hagara(AUT),Hans Peter Steinacher(AUT),Gabriele Olivo(ITA),David Vera(ESP)(Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Rudders up …. bows down ….. There was real drama on the racecourses here in Singapore today as four boats nearly capsized as the gusty winds took the six-boat fleet by surprise.

 

Extreme Sailing Series Asia 2009. Event 2 - Singapore 11/15 Dec

For Rumbo Almeria it was a busy day – this morning they had taken former record holder and Olympic 4x100m Gold medallist Asafa Powell sailing onboard their Extreme 40 and then this afternoon were clinging on to the trampoline as they desperately strived to keep their boat from capsizing.

Bowman Steve Mitchell picks up the story, “We were on the second reach of a triangle course, it was a pretty tight leg we had a big puff and the boat was tipping up, tipping up…..

“I had gone to leeward, we had furled the spinnaker and I was pulling it down and the only thing I could see was a construction site coming at me really pretty quickly! I had my ankles in the water, the bow was fully under and I could hear Nick [Hutton] shouting, ‘We’re going down, we’re going down’. So I just turned, left the spinnaker and ran to the high side. I am pretty glad I had studs in the bottom of my shoes to get to get up the trampoline to join everyone hanging on to the top corner! And she finally popped out and came back down again and off we went again. We weren’t expecting that here! It mixes it up and keeps us on our toes for sure!”

CLICK HERE to watch Rumbo Almeria’s near capsize, talked through by bowman Steve Mitchell.
CLICK HERE to download.

The Wave, Muscat, Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team and CHINA TEAM were all sailing on the edge of their comfort zones as they each battled to keep their Extreme 40 the right way up as the wind channelled between the buildings in gusts of up to 16 knots.

Local sailor, Tan Wearn Haw, from Singapore onboard CHINA TEAM was buzzing as he stepped onto the dock. “So we have seen how wrong things can go in a moment, we almost flipped the boat today!” he grinned. “It was in the third race, it was interesting we were just on the edge, everything could have gone pear-shaped we were like “WOAH!”. We had Adam jumping on the dagger-board, so it was good that he ate lots of supper last night to give him an extra kilo weight!


“We had two shots of gusts that just hit us over the breakwater and we couldn’t quite respond to it so ah well, a lot learnt today! It was so quiet onboard as we all wondered if we were going to go over and then suddenly we were all shouting! We told the fifth man we don’t do this every day – Hugh [Styles – helm] said he’s sailed these boats for three years and it is the closest he has ever come to capsizing.”

There were five races today exploring every inch of the Marina Reservoir race area with the teams being challenged by the unpredictable winds as it channelled between the buildings.

Hans-Peter Steinacher, tactician onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team was pleased with this second day of racing, “What a perfect day – we are really enjoying sailing in Singapore. Good wind conditions and even these short races are quite funny and it is very physical, it is unbelievalbe, we are nearly on the limit. It was good today that we only had five races because otherwise the two guys at the front of the boat are exhausted, the crashes start coming and just wouldn’t be able to cope. Even the speed races are fun. It’s great here!”

Provisional standings at the end of the second day saw the fleet which was tied yesterday with four boats at the top of the leaderboard, start to spread out with the European Champions and winners of the first round in Hong Kong, Oman Sail’s Masirah lead Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team by two points, ahead of BT by another two points. CHINA TEAM sits in fourth place, just one point ahead of The Wave, Muscat with Rumbo Almeria in sixth.

More high-octane action continues tomorrow, Sunday 13th December from 2pm.

Standing after Day 2:

1. Oman Sail Masirah: 45
2. Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team: 43
3. BT: 41
4. CHINA TEAM: 39
5. The Wave, Muscat: 38
6. Rumbo Almeria: 26

Olympic 4x100m gold medallist and previous 100m world record holder Asafa Powell was taken to new Extremes when he stepped onboard double-Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson’s catamaran racing in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Singapore today, Saturday 12 December. The 27-year-old Jamaican sprinter was a guest on Rumbo Almeria, one of six teams taking part in the second leg of the Series in Marina Reservoir, under the world’s largest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer

Extreme 40 Sailing In Hong Kong (Photo by Marco Hong/OC Events )

Extreme 40 Sailing In Hong Kong (Photo by Marco Hong/OC Events )

As the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia gets off to a successful start in Hong Kong (20-24 November), OC Events, organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series, take a look back at the highlights of the 2009 iShares Cup, revealing the key statistics from the series third season, and preview the 2010 European Extreme Sailing Series.
 
For the planned six events in 2010, four countries are already confirmed, with events taking place in the UK, Germany, France and Spain. Venue announcements will be made over the coming months, but it can be confirmed today that the final round of the Extreme Sailing Series 2010 will take place in the region of Andalucia, Spain, at the port of Almeria over the national holiday weekend in mid-October.

Almeria hosted the 2009 finalé and recently published the results of an Economic Impact Report produced by the Council of Tourism, Commerce and Sport for Andalucia confirming that the event had generated 2.7m Euros of return on their investment. Over 75,000 spectators attended the Spanish event in October this year. A total of 15,000 tourists visited the city, 92% visiting because of the event and 80% of visitors expressed their intention to return. Hotel occupancy was up by 19.2 per cent compared to the same time in 2008, with more than 606,000 overnight stays. The visitors scored the event 8.1 points out of 10, considering the event to be ‘well organised’.

Seven teams who competed in the 2009 European series have already expressed their commitment to return in 2010 ahead of the publication of the official Notice of Race.

Extreme Sailing Series Racing In Hong Kong (Photo by Guy Nowell/OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series Racing In Hong Kong (Photo by Guy Nowell/OC Events)

The full media evaluation report of the 2009 iShares Cup will be published shortly by independent agency Havas Insight. In the meantime, enjoy some of the key statistics from the highly successful 2009 circuit that saw 48 of the world’s best sailors compete in 108 races across six European venues with only two capsizes, compared to five in 2008, but six collisions…!

To find out more about the current Extreme Sailing Series Asia, CLICK HERE…

2009 FACTS AND FIGURES:

Entries:

BT (EUR) – Nick Moloney (AUS)
Ecover (EUR) – Mike Golding (GBR)
Holmatro (NED) – Carolijn Brouwer (BEL)
iShares (EUR) – Shirley Robertson (GBR)
Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild (FRA) – Yann Guichard (FRA)
Groupama 40 (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
LUNA (FRA) – Erik Maris (FRA)
Oman Sail Masirah (OMA) – Pete Cumming (GBR)
Oman Sail Renaissance (OMA) – Loïck Peyron (FRA)
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) – James Spithill (AUS) (Venice/Hyères only)
WIRSOL Team Germany Kiel Sailing City – Roland Gabler (GER) (Kiel only)
Rumbo Almeria – Fernando Echavarri (ESP) (Almeria only)

Sailors:

48 sailors across 12 teams
52 World Championships
17 Olympians
7 Olympic medalists (4 Gold)
27 America’s Cup participations
17 Round the World navigations
11 different nationalities

Racing:

108 races: Venice 17; Hyéres 19; Cowes 20; Kiel 19; Amsterdam 17: Almeria 16

Regatta wins: Oman Sail Masirah 4 (Hyéres, Cowes, Kiel, Almeria); Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 2 (Venice, Amsterdam)

Number of 1st places: Oman Sail Masirah 36; Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 19; Oman Sail Renaissance 16 (9 out of the 12 teams, all scored 1 or more race wins during the season)

Best number of race wins per venue: Oman Sail Masirah 11 (Cowes); Oman Sail Renaissance 5 (Kiel, Amsterdam); Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 5 (Almeria)

2 capsizes: Holmatro at Cowes (practice day); Ecover at Kiel, day 1 (5 capsizes in 2008)

6 collisions: Oman Sail Renaissance hit Ecover (Hyéres); Team iShares hit spectator boat (Cowes); Oman Sail Renaissance hit WIRSOL Team Germany (Kiel) and Gitana Extreme hit WIRSOL Team Germany (Kiel); Oman Sail Renaissance hit Ecover (Amsterdam, practice day); BT hit Oman Sail Masirah (Amsterdam)

7 disqualifications: Groupama 40 (Venice); Oman Sail Renaissance (Kiel); Holmatro, Team iShares and BT (Amsterdam); LUNA and Team iShares (Almeria)

Venues:

Venice, Italy
Hyeres-TPM, France
Cowes, England
Kiel, Germany
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Almeria, Spain

(2007 x 4 rounds / 2008 x 5 rounds)

Spectators (estimated):

2009 200,000

(2007 57,000 / 2008 150,000)

VIP entertainment:

2,124 VIP guests were entertained in the VIP facilities at the six events in 2009

93% of VIP guests agreed that the iShares Cup fell within the top three events they had ever attended.