Cardiff  © Nick Treharne

Cardiff © Nick Treharne

 

The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ now in its sixth year will be staged in Cardiff the capital of Wales between the 24-27 August, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.

The Extreme 40 catamarans, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.

Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.

“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”

Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.

“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”

The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).

As we enter the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.

2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April*
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December

Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April as previously communicated

 

Extreme Sailing Series Boston  Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

Muscat The Wave In Front of Spectators (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Despite winds gusting into the 30s and a grim sky suggesting the onset of winter, so in the late afternoon the wind dropped below 20 knots and the turning tide flattened out the sea to allow racing to begin on the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.  Perhaps the greatest surprise given the damp overcast weather was the huge turn-out of spectators crowding to Egypt Point, and the beach surrounding the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village.

 

Spectators watch the Fleet From the race village (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Extreme 40 crews have been tested to the limit in the breezy conditions that have dominated Act 5, and it has been a case of ‘taming the 40-foot beast’ to the best of their abilities. Asked to compare their Extreme 40s to an animal, the skippers came up with some surprising answers!

By the time racing started later than usual at 1640 BST the wind had dropped to the teens. “It was quite windy, gusting to almost 20 knots so it wasn’t nearly as ‘extreme’ as we have had for the rest of this week: nice and flat water as well which made the tacking and boat handling a little easier, so you didn’t see too many rudders out of the water today, but still a windy day and a hard day to battle a boat around the course,” described Luna Rossa helmsman Paul Campbell-James.

Alinghi helmsman Tanguy Cariou said that in the conditions it was still hard work on board: “It was really physical, really tough for us especially at the end as you had to come in so close to the shore before tacking it was quite difficult, but I think we were quite solid and I think anything could happen tomorrow.”

 The 11 Extreme 40s were divided into groups as the conditions on the penultimate day were still on the limit to race the fleet in one group with reefed mainsails but gennakers permitted after the first two races much to the publics delight.  With half of the fleet racing at a time, the tactical objective for the crews was to get as far into the shore as possible on the beat to make the best of the favourable eddy off Eygpt Point and definitely out of the 2.5 knot counter current offshore. As Campbell-James put it: “There was one way to do it – to come off the line, hit the beach and push your luck on the rocks. Whoever nailed that strategy was the guy who usually came up in first at the windward mark.”

The most tense moments came on the first beat of each race when the Extreme 40s would get as close as possible into shore and occasionally not get enough room to tack. But despite some hair-raising moments none of the boats went aground.

In fact it was the strong tide that proved the major stumbling block with several crews underestimating the angle of the rope tethering the weather mark. As a result several snagged it on their rudders causing them to pop up, perhaps the most dramatic being when Luna Rossa careered off downwind seeming to gybe twice accidently before they got their Extreme 40 under control.

 Campbell-James described it: “We just skimmed the windward mark on the way round and that popped the leeward rudder up. It was pretty dangerous in the big breeze with the one rudder in and one out, so we got to the leeward marks and we stuck it head to wind, did our penalty while putting the rudder back down. It was all a bit of a drama, but we managed it. Alister [Richardson] hurt his back a little bit a bit in the process.”

Team Extreme suffered the same fate in the third race and crewman Benedikt Wenk cut his hand as he attempted to get the rudder back down. Wenk required a couple of stitches and Roland Gaebler’s team had to retire from racing for the day.

Star of today’s competition was ex-Tornado sailor Pierre Pennec and the crew of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who won three of their four races. Their third race was the tightest of the day with Leigh McMillian at the helm of The Wave, Muscat first to the top mark with the French team on their transom. There were whoops from the crowd ashore as the French crew came close to rolling past their Omani rivals. However, the real coup for the French team came on the second run when The Wave, Muscat crew thought they had crossed the finish line only to find that the race had been extended to finish on the next upwind leg. This wavering allowed the French team to overhaul them and to take their third bullet of their day by a matter of centimetres.

 

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Pierre Pennec tearaway and the bows dig in, spray everywhere © Lloyd Images

Alinghi won their third race of the day and Tanguy Cariou was satisfied with their performance. “Today it was quite good, quite solid team work and good manoeuvres. We fought well against the other opponents.” In contrast it wasn’t such a good day for the Italian team on Luna Rossa who prior to their rudder incident at the top mark had suffered a broken outhaul shortly after the start of the first race.

At the close of play The Wave, Muscat continues to lead with a margin of 10 points on Luna Rossa, Alinghi third with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild fourth, now just six point shy of the podium. But as Paul Campbell-James points out it could inevitably once again come to tomorrow’s double points-scoring final race.  “Leigh is in front of us as he had a really good day today, so we’ve just got to put in a solid day tomorrow and see what happens in the double points last race,” said Campbell-James. “Basically it will be man against man with Leigh which I have been doing since I was nine years old!”

The weather forecast for tomorrow is looking good – 11-15 knots and sunshine, which will mean the Extreme 40s can, once again, race as one fleet for the for the final day of Act 5.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Current overall standings, day 6 (11.8.11)

Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 138 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 128 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 117 points
4th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 111 points*
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 104 points
6th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 101 points
7th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 93 points*
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 81 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 73 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 69 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 51 points
12th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 23 points*
 

Team Extreme skippered by Roland Gaebler powering along. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Artemis and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild Crash (Photo by Lloyd Images)

In the fourth race on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 from Cowes, France’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild ploughed into Sweden’s Artemis Racing at the top mark resulting in severe damage to both boats – bad enough to end their racing for the day. A busy night in the pitlanes is expected to get them racing again tomorrow.

Groupe Edmond de Rothshild collide with Artemis Racing on Day 2, Act 5 Cowes © Giordana Pipornetti

The breezy conditions on the second day of Act 5, with 20-25 knots steady breeze with bigger gusts earlier in the day, the 12-boat fleet was split into two groups of 6 and raced with reefed mainsails and no gennakers. The first group raced three races and the action was pretty spectacular as the Extreme 40 crews manhandled their boats around the tight stadium racecourse off Egypt Point, Cowes.  It was in the first race for the second group that the collision happened between Artemis Racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

Groupe Edmond de Rothshild’s damaged hull after their collision with Artemis Racing on Day 2, Act 5 Cowes © Lloyd Images

Artemis Racing, helmed by Santiago Lange, tacked in for the top mark on to starboard in front of Groupe Edmond to Rothschild, who were on port. Artemis Racing went through the tack and Pierre Pennec attempted to bear away around her stern, but the boats crashed – two of the French crew were thrown into the water.  The impact was heard by thousands of spectators along the shore – a record crowd in the history of the event – who have been experiencing amazing close up Stadium Racing all afternoon. As a matter of course, the jury will hold a hearing in the morning.

The Extreme 40 fleet racing on day 2, Act 5 Cowes © Lloyd Images

It is the two British helmsman of Paul Campbell-James (Luna Rossa) and Leigh McMillan (The Wave, Muscat) who are sitting pretty at the top of the overall leaderboard tonight, clearly using their knowledge of ‘home’ waters to the best of their abilities (check out video below).  Despite missing three races this afternoon, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild are still in third place.  The Swiss team of Alinghi, Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Team GAC Pindar, skippered by Britain’s Ian Williams, are all tied on 42 points.

Tomorrow the forecast is still breezy – 17-21 knots, gusts peaking at 27-30 and the Extreme LiveTV continues tomorrow. A full multi-cameraman production and running commentary.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Cu
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points

1st Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 60 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 51 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 43 points
4th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 42 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 42 points
6th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 42 points
7th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 33 points
8th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 27 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 26 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 24 points
11th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR) John Pink / Rick Peacock, Greg Homann / John Gimson 23 points
12th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 12 points

Boston Extreme Sailing Series (Photo by George Bekris)

Boston Extreme Sailing Series (Photo by George Bekris)

The ever changing conditions on the second day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4 in Boston, resulted in a game of snakes and ladders for many of the 11 Extreme 40 teams and leaves Act 4 wide open going into the halfway stage tomorrow. After another seven races today there have been a significant number of place changes on the overall leaderboard, although Terry Hutchinson’s crew on Artemis Racing extended their lead at the top ahead of The Wave, Muscat by 7 points. So no change for the top two, however Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand strong performance today moved the Kiwi team up to 3rd place: “We were really happy with today,” commented Dean back on the dockside at Fan Pier. “We won four races and sailed in good shape for the rest. In the last race we copped a penalty and managed to fall back three places, so we were actually pretty happy with how we continued as it would have been easy to give up but we finished in 8th which is good, and an improvement on yesterday.”

The racing started out in really light and fluky winds. In the first race, won by Emirates Team New Zealand, three boats fell foul of the time limit rule for not finishing within 6 minutes of the winning boat. It wasn’t until the fourth race that the sea breeze really filled in and stabilized. Then the boat speeds picked up and the action moved up a few gears delighting the Boston crowd who turned out in force again today.

The Swiss team of Alinghi, skippered by Tanguy Cariou, after a mixed bag of results yesterday, came back strongly in the second half to climb from 9th to 6th place. Unfortunately, for Austrian skipper Roman Hagara, skipper of the popular Red Bull Extreme Sailing team here in Boston, a collision in the fifth race with Team GAC Pindar put them out of action with damage to their rudder system, and the team has dropped from 3rd yesterday to 8th. Undoubtedly, Hagara’s team will be seeking points redress as the fault for the collision sits with Team GAC Pindar.

For many of the teams new to the circuit, the experience of three events already under their belts is starting to pay as they accelerate up the learning curve. Italy’s Niceforyou is in a great battle mid-leaderboard, only 2 points behind Alinghi, and skipper Alberto Barovier is clearly enjoying the experience: “The racing is pretty tricky,” said Alberto. “We survived two days with a good consistency on results which is very good for us and an improvement on the other venues. We are looking forward to doing better tomorrow and the next day.”

The final race of the day was one of joy for Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme who posted their first win of the regatta with American 470 Olympic silver medalist Bob Merrick onboard, and one of huge disappointment for the Pierre Pennec’s French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. The team crossed the line first but touched the finish mark and was instantly penalized, forcing them to re-cross the finish line. Pennec was visibly unhappy with his 6th place but the French team are still very much in the running having posted multiple 2nd places today, and maintaining their fourth place overall.

A day of frustration for many and joy for others but there are still many more points up for grabs and no one is placing any bets on which teams will be standing on the podium come Monday. “It’s just all about getting to Monday with a chance to win,” said Terry. “Everyone is so good but I am very hungry to win here.” And with more breeze forecast for the final two days, the action is going to get hotter and hotter.

Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino visited the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village at Fan Pier to see the action first-hand: “It’s very special to have the Extreme Sailing Series in Fan Pier,” said the Mayor. “Boston has a great harbour but to have these boats here is a very special time for us. We hope that the sailors have a great time and we hope that the event comes back in future. This could be the start of a great tradition in our city and I want to thank everyone involved in this for choosing Boston to be the place to come in America. In short this is awesome. There is no better place and time to be in America than on 4th of July on Boston harbour.”

The Extreme Sailing Series Race Village at Fan Pier was rocking until late last night culminating in a fantastic firework display and there is palpable party atmosphere in the build up to Monday’s Independence Day celebrations.

There is plenty of action still to see at Boston Fan Pier all weekend long and on the Fourth of July.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 at Fan Pier Boston, USA
Current overall standings after 14 races, Day 2 (1.7.11)

Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 114 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 107 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Adam Beashel / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 106 points
4th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 101 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 88 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 78 points
7th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 76 points
8th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 70 points
9th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 69 points
10th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Bob Merrick 57 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 44 points

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet in front of Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet in front of Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Lloyd Images)

LIVE COVERAGE THIS WEEKEND!!

Turkey’s national TV broadcaster, TRT, will be covering the Extreme Sailing Series live this weekend and TRT’s TV feed will be available on the Extreme Sailing Series website. TRT1 will broadcast live from Saturday between 1600-1650 CET and on Sunday 1700-1900 CET [see further details below].

It was another intense day on the Halic estuary at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 3 in Istanbul, with gusty conditions and tight race courses resulting in a few collisions and numerous close calls. Luna Rossa has been craned out tonight to check for damage after crunching into Team GAC’s back beam and then another knock with Artemis Racing inflicting some damage to the aft port hull. However, Max Sirena’s team who have dropped from 2nd overall to 4th place will be back racing tomorrow as will Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar.

The team that started the second day on top, Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing, has extended their lead even further from 1 point yesterday to 19 points today after another seven races. The other two event podium places are now currently occupied by Alinghi, skippered by Tanguy Cariou and helmed by Yann Guichard, in 2nd: “The first two events were very difficult for us as we are a new team,” explained Guichard. “We need to get to know how to work together. We are improving every day, in every race so we are happy till now, everything is coming together well.” But they will have to keep raising there game in this fiercely contested field as the Swiss team are on equal points with Dean’s Barker’s Kiwi team Emirates Team New Zealand going into the halfway stage tomorrow, as Guichard conceded: “The game is really tight out there. It’s fun, very fun but you you’re not allowed to make one mistake!”

Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Watch the ‘Skipper Snippets’ video.

Overall series leaders Groupe Edmond de Rothschild from France bounced back from a difficult start yesterday – 7th this morning – up to 5th by the end of play today. And Roman Hagara’s Austrian Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team also climbed two places: “It was a little mad on the water today,” said Hagara. “Lots of up and down, lots of close finishes and close marks roundings. You can see some teams leading on one race and finishing last on the next one. The general level of the fleet is going up and that’s good to see five different winners out of seven races today. I’m really happy with my team, we’re having fun and loving it here. That’s the first time we are racing in Istanbul and it’s absolutely fantastic.”

The conditions were similar to yesterday with 7-10 knots of breeze and some fierce gusts that quickly turned these 40-foot Extreme 40 racing machines into one big handful for the 44 sailors representing some of the best in the sport. The short two-lap races lasting just 10-12 minutes, saw the sailors grappling with their huge gennakers as they flew into the downwind mark and it required slick handling to avoid a major incident: “The racing is pretty brutal out there but we keep improving,” said Barker. “We had a couple of shockers, but you know, you need to deal with what you get and try do do things a little bit better each time, and make less mistakes. Of course there’s a lot we can do better, but we jump on every opportunity we can and try to make the best out it.”

The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Alberto Barovier’s team Niceforyou scored two 2nd places today lifting them from 11th place into 10th. The all-Italian team enjoyed their first race win in Muscat and it is sure another one is on the cards as the team gets to grips with the Extreme 40 under the tutelage of 2010 series winner crew member, Mark Bulkley.

Tomorrow Act 3 moves up a gear into stadium sailing format as the doors open to the public here in Istanbul. For now the 44 sailors are resting, bruised boats being patched up, but the 11 Extreme 40s will all be back in front of the public tomorrow.

Check out the Extreme Sailing Series Channel for the latest video compilation from Act 3, Istanbul including the action from day 1.

TRT LIVE COVERAGE:
TRT1 TV channel covers all the major sporting events including football and Formula 1 and on Sunday TRT will cover the Monaco Formula 1 live before switching to the on-water racetrack here in Istanbul for the final day’s racing. TRT1 will broadcast live coverage from 1700-1900 CET on Sunday and 50 minutes coverage on Saturday between 1600-1650 CET. The coverage will obviously come with TRT’s Turkish commentary but follow the English race blog on the home page.

Extreme Sailing Series – Act 3, Istanbul
Current overall standings after Day 2 (26.5.11)

Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Rodney Ardern / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 116 points
2nd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 97 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 97 points
4th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 95 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 95 points
6th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 87 points
7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 78 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 76 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Nicholas Heintz 64 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 64 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mischa Heemskerk / Jono Macbeth 55 points

Extremem Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Nice For You Day 1 in Istanbul , Turkey (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Nice For You Day 1 in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The first day of the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 3 in Istanbul, Turkey saw an action packed seven races for the 11 international teams, with Artemis Racing taking the top spot with 52 points, only a single point ahead of Act 2 winners Luna Rossa and Alinghi on 47. The racing conditions tested the teams today as the 44 sailors manhandled their Extreme 40 racing machines around short, sharp courses. There were plenty of gusts to potentially trip the up boats, shifts in wind direction and the race legs were so short it was a full-on physical work. “It’s beautiful to sail here, the conditions are good with a tricky wind which is good for us,” said Maxi Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa.

For six out of seven races today a different team crossed the finish line first, only Luna Rossa scored two bullets. Alinghi, Emirates Team New Zealand, The Wave Muscat, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Team GAC Pindar all secured a win apiece which kept everyone guessing right up to the last race as to which team would finish the day on top. Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing proved that securing steady results in the top half of the leaderboard throughout the day gave them the edge over the less inconsistent teams: “I think one of the best things that we did was not get too flustered by some of the bad cards that were dealt to us, the last race was a perfect example of hanging in during the race and waiting until there was an opportunity presented to us to make our move,” explained Terry Hutchinson. “When a nice little shift came down the course we went for it with an early gybe, I think we passed three boats in the one move which was really, really good.”

Team GAC Pindar (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Team GAC Pindar (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Team GAC Pindar had their first race win of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series. Skipper Ian Williams was jubilant to get their first race win under their belts in such challenging conditions: “It was challenging today, really shifty puffy conditions, quite strong winds at times and quite light winds at times which made it really tricky. Our first win was great today, it was a really close race with Team Extreme but in the end we just snuck it on the line with Team Extreme finishing in second.” Click here to watch Ian Williams discuss his form and that of the fleet in a chat with Seb Destremau.

The race management maximized the length of the upwind/downwind leg using the widest part of the Halic estuary but the downwind leg was still short – with the Extreme 40s covering the 400m stretch in 90 seconds. Two laps round and each race was over in just 10-12 minutes.

With only 11 points separating the top eight teams there will be some tough competition tomorrow as the front runners try to establish a firm lead, and the race course will become narrower as it moves in front of the VIP set-up for the media day ahead of the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village opening to the public on Friday, 28th.

Extreme Sailing Series – Act 3, Istanbul
Current overall standings after Day 1

Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Rodney Ardern / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 52 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 51 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 47 points
4th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 46 points
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 45 points
6th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 44 points
7th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 44 points
8th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Nicholas Heintz 41 points
9th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 34 points
10th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mischa Heemskerk / Jono Macbeth 29 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 29 points

Extreme 40 Fleet In Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40 Fleet In Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

In the words of singer, Paolo Nutini, ‘What a day…!’ Four and a half hours of high-drama on the second day of the Act 2 at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Qingdao. The Austrian Red Bull Extreme Sailing team thought they had snatched the overall lead from Emirates Team New Zealand in the final race only to find their victory in tatters after Dean Barker’s team were given redress (a rare occasion on this circuit); the 11-boat close combat racing resulted in two collisions; and, to top it all, Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme won their first race of the season with the Mayor of Qingdao on board in the 5th man spot, to the delight of the public!

Six ‘open water’ races were raced today outside the breakwater of Fushan Bay. The breeze was a up and down but predominantly strong enough to see the Extreme 40 fleet flying their hulls – when it dropped, the teams had to deploy a different set of tactics to find an advantage which split the fleet on numerous occasions as Hagara explains: “It was a pretty hard day today, especially on the start line as the wind was shifting a lot and there was a big difference in pressure. Quiet difficult to know where to go, which side of the start line is better, where the pressure is the most powerful.”

Team Extreme WIth The Mayor of Qingdao (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Team Extreme WIth The Mayor of Qingdao (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Dean Barker’s team was consistently good and finished inside the top four in the first five races, winning the penultimate race. It looked like the Kiwi team would retain their overall lead… But in classic Extreme style, the script appeared to be rewritten in the final race of the day… Barker’s team was called over the start line and Roman Hagara’s team were off leading the race all the way to the finish line. Emirates Team New Zealand needed to finish in 6th place or higher to keep their lead and fought all the way from the back, climbing into 7th place at the finish. It looked like they had lost their overall lead to Red Bull Extreme Sailing. But post-racing video footage proved that Emirates Team New Zealand were not in fact over the line and redress upgraded the team to 4th place – the overall lead at the halfway stage remains with the Kiwi team for now.

The Fleet On Day 2 Racing Close to city (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Fleet On Day 2 Racing Close to city (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40's In Fushan Bay, Quigdao, China (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

Extreme 40's In Fushan Bay, Qingdao, China (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

 

The Olympic spirit is very much alive in Qingdao which hosted the sailing events of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, and some of the Extreme Sailing Series™ competitors have strong memories from three years ago when they represented their country in the Tornado catamaran class … Red Bull Extreme Sailing Austrian duo Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher finished 10th, whilst their British crew man Will Howden came 6th with helmsman Leigh McMillan, who is in Qingdao coaching Oman Air. Argentinian Santiago Lange, who is skippering Artemis Racing in place of Terry Hutchinson for Act 2, reached the Olympic podium to secure Bronze and New Zealander Glenn Ashby, racing with Emirates Team New Zealand, went one better and returned home with Silver.  Luna Rossa helm, Paul Campbell-James, also recalled his time in Qingdao: “I was one of the tuning partners for Team GBR and was here for almost a month doing a lot of training where the Olympic racing was held just right out here. We’ve been sailing for two days and we’re just dying for the event to get started now. We were expecting there not to be much breeze but the last two days there has been about 12 knots – enough to get us flying and get some practice races in so its been pretty good.”

 
The teams are in the final stages of preparation, fine tuning their boats, discussing tactics and studying their weather files.  Racing starts tomorrow (Wednesday, 13th April) for two days of non-public racing, allowing the race management team to set optimum race courses further offshore if required, before Act 2 opens to the public from Friday, 15th through to the final day on Sunday, 17th April when one of the 11 teams will lift the Double Star Cup. But its not just the teams who are putting the final touches to their campaigns, the organising committee of the Qingdao Yachting Association are putting the weight of their Olympic experience into hosting another high-profile sailing event as Leo Zhanglizhong, Project Officer, Qingdao Sports Bureau commented: “The host city is looking forward to this great event for a long time and we have all been busy preparing for the event here in Qingdao. All the citizens are very eager to see the exciting racing.”

An objective of Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme has been to sail with a local sailor of the host venue and Chinese sailor, William Wu, has been training the team and is looking forward to the racing: “I am looking forward to getting more experience on large multihull racing boats racing against some of the best sailors in the world,” said Wu.  “I have been racing in Qingdao so I have local knowledge of the area which will help with race strategy. However I will be the one learning the most from my team, particularly from my skipper Olympic medalist Roland Gaebler.”  Wu is a relative newcomer to the sailing world who had his first taste of sailing in Shanghai in 2007.  He progressed rapidly in the sport and now has his own Chinese sailing team, Whitewave, who are aiming to compete on an international level representing his country.

Phil Lawrence, Race Manager, outlines the weather scenario for Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao: “The forecast looks quite promising for the next two or three days with a reasonable breeze in the afternoons, although its looking lighter for the weekend but we’re still quite a long way out. The boats are very light so even if the winds are light we can still race. The tides are very strong here and if we do have some stronger breeze the sea can get very rough, so we’re going to have some challenging conditions either way.”

For the Extreme 40 sailors they will adapt to whatever the weather situation and are used to racing at the Extreme Sailing Series venues that do not follow the conventions of other sailing events, racing directly in front of the public in city centres, on canals, off beaches or on rivers.  The teams adapt quickly to their local environment and as we saw at Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat, the teams slower off the starting blocks were soon back in the mix, which was the case for Luna Rossa as Paul Campbell-James explained: “We were pretty happy after Act 1, results-wise we were hoping to get on the podium, but the way it went we were just off fourth place and we started pretty average and finished pretty well. We hope to carry that momentum into this event. It’s such a varied set of conditions that you get here and I still wouldn’t say one team is stronger than any other in the light so I’m backing ourselves!”

Leo Zhanglizhong, Project Officer Qingdao Sports Bureau Being Interviewed (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

Leo Zhanglizhong, Project Officer Qingdao Sports Bureau Being Interviewed (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

The people of the ‘City of Sails’ are going to witness five days of intense competition… Let the battle commence!

Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 Team Line-Up:

Team / Skipper & crew
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham
Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Rodney Ardern / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers
Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Richard Meacham
Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena
Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey
The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri
Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari
Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / William Wu (tbc)
Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari
Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth

 

The Luna Rossa Team preparing for racing (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

The Luna Rossa Team preparing for racing (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)