Groupama Extreme 40 Photo by Lloyd Images

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Biggest gust of the day sees Team Aberdeen Singapore plough into the back of Groupama sailing team !
Alinghi dominates the racing in a way rarely seen on this event, but The Wave, Muscat win half the days races, chasing them hard in second.
Groupama expecting to be back on the racetrack tomorrow – update on Team Aberdeen Singapore to follow in the next two hours.

The penultimate days racing in Singapore delivered possibly one of the most dramatic moments in the eight-year history of Extreme Sailing Series™. In winds that were varying from 5 to 23 knots across the racecourse, Team Aberdeen Singapore caught one of the biggest gusts of the day as they came into the finish line struggling to hold off the pace and ploughing into the back of France’s Groupama sailing team. The Extreme 40 pitlane, built on part of Singapore’s F1 track, is busy tonight with Groupama fully expecting to be back on the racetrack with a new mast. However, the damage assessment is not yet complete on Team Aberdeen Singapore. A full update will be available within the next two hours.

Groupama sailing team skipper, Franck Cammas, explained what happened: “We had big gusts and as we were finishing a gybe we saw Aberdeen come really fast from behind and that’s the moment when they came over us breaking the mast. Besides the broken mast the damage is not too serious and it is mainly on the mast, the mainsail, the jib and a hole on the trampoline so I think we will be able to race tomorrow with another mast. Tanguy Cariou is the only crew member hurt but it’s only superficial injuries. He was in the middle of the trampoline where the boat fell, which was the worst spot. Three crew members jumped off the boat. It’s the risk of racing. What is tricky here is that the wind is quite strong and very gusty which is difficult to anticipate. It’s not easy.”

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Six races were sailed that saw Leigh McMillan’s team The Wave, Muscat up their game, winning 50% of the days races, and locking their sights on current event leaders, Alinghi.  “Everything is going so fast, as you can see from the shore with the few clashes out there, and it’s all about improving communication,” commented McMillan. “The dynamics on the boat every race, every day, is coming together very nicely. It’s a great performance and we’re happy that we’re putting in good results. We’re fighting for podium spot, which is exactly where we want to be. We want to keep doing the same thing, finding how to work as a team. Overall great performance from everyone today and we’ll keep going to get that spot.”

Alinghi will lead the fleet going into the final day, having sat in pole position since race nine, but despite a 31-point cushion at the top of the leaderboard, helm Morgan Larson is all to aware how quickly things can change on the Stadium Racecourse. “We’re never fully confident with sailors of this calibre! But we’re happy with the way we’re sailing right now. It was a magical day. We put ourselves in a few risky situations and nearly collided with Emirates Team New Zealand but the guys did an amazing job on our boat and let the sails out to try and keep behind, flying our hull right over. That is the kind of teamwork that has gotten us where we are and we hope that tomorrow we can keep sailing this way and stay out of trouble.”

Team Aberdeen Singapore are currently assessing the damage, and a full update as to whether they will be back on the racetrack tomorrow will be available at approximately 2200 local time in Singapore.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 3, 21 races (22.02.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 163 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 132 points.
3rd Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sebastien Stephant 130 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 117 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 117 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 104 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 103 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 95 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 49 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 47 points.

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Red Bull Extreme Sailing 2nd Capsize of the Day (Photo by Giordana Pipornetti / Niceforyou)

Red Bull Extreme Sailing 2nd Capsize of the Day (Photo by Giordana Pipornetti / Niceforyou)

Never in four years of the Extreme Sailing Series has there been so much drama in one day. In almost unprecedented conditions here in Qingdao, the public witnessed some extraordinary adrenalin fueled ‘stadium’ racing, first witnessing a major collision between The Wave, Muscat (OMAN) and Oman Air (OMAN) at the first downwind mark of the first race, and four dramatic capsizes – The Wave, Muscat (OMAN) in Race 2 and Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Team GAC Pindar (GBR) and Oman Air (OMAN) all in the final race of the day. In the first two races it was the very gusty conditions that tested some of the world’s best sailors to their limits, and beyond, with 3 to 23 knots, and up to 30 knots by the final race. “Massive day! The only way to describe it is extreme! The wind was funneling through the big buildings of the city, really puffy and shifty, it caught a lot of people out,” Will Howden, Red Bull Extreme Sailing.

Skipper of The Wave, Muscat, Torvar Mirsky, in his first Extreme 40 season, was to have his toughest day yet, firstly in race 1 accelerating in to the back of Oman Air right at the first downwind mark with the impact throwing crewman Dave “Freddie’ Carr in to the shroud (a cable holding the mast up), and then soon after in Race 2 suffering a catastrophic capsize. Freddie has been given the ‘ok’ but will remain in hospital for observation for 48 hours.

“I can honestly say that this is the worst day of sailing I’ve ever had,” commented a visibly shaken Mirsky, the youngest skipper on the circuit. “First of all taking out Freddie and then in the second race, we got hit by a gust that I couldn’t handle and the boat went down and we all knew straight away that it was going to go over and to hold on. We were trapped and doomed for a disaster. Kyle and I got flicked off from the top and fell onto the mast and snapped it.” [full sequence has been captured on video]  The Wave, Muscat were accelerating away after a ‘hot’ bear away and gybe at the final top mark, and lost control as a gust hit and span them in to a very fast cartwheel.

The conditions on the second day of Act 2 guaranteed that these fast and powerful Extreme 40s were going to be a handful even for these experienced professional crews.  By the third race the 11-boat fleet had been told to put a reef in and keep their massive downwind gennakers furled. A sensible measure, but not enough to stop three further capsizes in the final race when the gusts were reaching 30 knots. Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing was chasing for the lead in the final race and was just meters from the pedestrian breakwater when they capsized: “We saw a gust coming which we knew was really hard. The wind was 5 knots when we went into the gybe and 25 after. We dived immediately and then capsized. We went so quickly. All four of us were hanging on because we know what happens from the last time, so we were all safe and luckily we had lifejackets and helmets on and nobody got hurt.” [*Red Bull Extreme Sailing capsized at the Muscat event in January 2010 during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia]

Whilst Red Bull Extreme Sailing was being righted by their support RIB, British skipper Ian Williams, who is new to this multihull game, was the next capsize victim as he closed in on the downwind mark a little too ‘hot’ along with Oman Air (back out racing with a replacement crew). Oman Air’s skipper Frenchman Sidney Gavignet bailed out, but when trying to bear away to come back down to the mark a second time, a powerful gust during a tight turn, sent them also hurtling in to a capsize.

Emirates Team New Zealand stayed out of trouble and retained the top position on the leaderboard ahead of Alinghi in 2nd and Red Bull Extreme Sailing finish in 3rd place today.

The pit lane is busy tonight as man and machine are put back together. Red Bull Extreme Sailing was righted with mast intact despite rubbing on the bottom of Fushan Bay, Team GAC Pindar was righted with mast intact and towed back in albeit missing one of their daggerboards. Both teams expect to be racing tomorrow. The Wave, Muscat suffered a broken mast and full inversion, with the extent of the damage still to be assessed. Oman Air spent some hours fully inverted and is now back in the harbour, with its condition yet to be established.

A day one can only described as Extreme!

Leaderboard after Day 3

1st Emirates Team New Zealand 
2nd Alinghi 
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing
4th Luna Rossa 
5th Groupe Edmond De Rothschild 
6th Artemis Racing 
7th Niceforyou
8th The Wave, Muscat 
9th Team Extreme 
10th Oman Air 
11th Team GAC Pindar

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)

Extreme 40 sailing series first leg at the Wave Muscat Oman.22nd February 2011. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40 sailing series first leg at the Wave Muscat Oman.22nd February 2011. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

In brief

  • The tender and selection process for venues interested in hosting an Extreme Sailing Series™ event in 2012-2015 has begun.
  • The bid process closes 13th May 2011, with Host Venue decisions made by 1st July.
  • The Extreme Sailing Series™ is delivering ever increasing tangible, year-on-year, benefits for Host Venues – boosted further by the new global year-long format.


In detail

With the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2011  finishing last week in Oman, the organisers have opened the next round of Host Venue selection process for prospective cities and regions that wish to host an event in 2012 and beyond. The award-winning and innovative circuit provides Host Venues with an outstanding value-for-money destination marketing package, alongside direct economic benefits.

Entering its fifth year, the Extreme Sailing Series™ attracts some of the biggest names in the sport to compete onboard the visually exciting Extreme 40 catamarans – the headline act of an all-encompassing shore and on-water entertainments package that appeals to a diverse audience. In 2011, the circuit spans North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia, with nine premium venues hosting 11 competing teams with sailors from 17 nations. World record holders, America’s Cup champions and seasoned Olympians, representing their sponsor brands such as Prada, Omega and Red Bull, will battle it out in front of the crowds, VIPs and the international media.


 
© Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/OC Events
 

The event brings sailing to a whole new audience, with high adrenalin-fuelled stadium racing just metres from the shore with day-long entertainment in the public Race Village. VIPs are treated to the best seat in sport, with the chance to sail as a ‘5th man’ onboard the Extreme 40s during racing.

In 2011, four new host venues of Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Boston (USA) and Nice (France) have signed up to the circuit, as the fleet returns to previous host venues of Muscat (Oman), Cowes (UK), Trapani (Sicily), Almeria (Spain) and Singapore. All host venues enjoy the direct and indirect benefits of having thousands of spectators visiting the event, as Don Luciano Alonso, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Sports for the Andalucia government explains: “The hotels were 90% full, 75,000 spectators watched the event… The results we have witnessed make it clear that we made the right decision when we bought the Extreme Sailing Series™ for Almeria.” An independent report commissioned by the region confirmed a 5 times ROI on their financial investment.


  © Paul Wyeth/OC Events

Each Act gives the Host Venue a solid international platform to showcase the region and its marine facilities to the world, as well as promoting the sport of sailing within their local community. The Extreme Sailing Series™ is proud to leave a lasting legacy in each location, activating charitable, volunteer and try sailing programmes for all ages and experience levels.

Prior to the opening Act at The Wave, Muscat, Oman Sail, CEO, David Graham commented: “The value of hosting such events is enormous in terms of inspiring even more Omanis to discover sailing and writing the next chapter of Oman’s maritime history. We expect to bring many new visitors to Oman and many others to see the country through the global media coverage the event will generate.”


© Th.Martinez / Sea & Co
 

The venues visited by the Extreme Sailing Series™ are a vital element for its continued success and expansion, and the organisers recognise their importance by providing a powerful Destination Marketing package delivering excellent, proven ROI. In 2010, a significant number of venues from around the world approached OC ThirdPole directly to secure a spot on this year’s circuit, with those chosen now forming a mix of iconic cities, premium venues, great sailing destinations and emerging (sailing) markets.  

As of today, proposals are welcomed from cities and regions that feel they can offer what it takes to host a great Extreme Sailing Series™ event for the next three years, beginning in 2012. Bids will be evaluated on the same criteria that were applied to select the 2011 venues. First and foremost, a suitable venue that can facilitate the ‘stadium’ racing concept, strong support from local governments and authorities, the ability to attract tens of thousands of spectators and a solid regional and national marketing and communications plan. To receive the Host Venue Tender document that outlines the full rights package and criteria, please email sarah.collins@octhirdpole.com

Extreme 40's ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Extreme 40's ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

The Extreme Sailing Series™ is set to expand as OC Events, creator of the award-winning circuit now in its 4th season, confirm a worldwide 2011 series. The expansion is part of a new five-year vision for the professional sailing circuit that has changed the way sailing is seen, becoming one of the hottest properties in the sport.
 
OC has also concluded this week the acquisition of the Extreme 40 Class, including the design and build rights from TornadoSport. TornadoSport, headed up by CEO Herbert Dercksen, created the game-changing concept in 2005 along with Mitch Booth and Daniel Koene when they launched the Extreme 40 catamaran that was designed by Yves Loday and built today by Marstrom Composites in Sweden. The acquisition will include management of the Class, technical support for the teams, and boat sales. As previously announced, the Extreme Sailing Series™ is committed to the Extreme 40 as the main act until at least January 2013, and will seek the input of current teams with regards to possible evolutions of the boat and rules for the 2011 season.

 

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

The Extreme Sailing Series™, one of just four circuits with ISAF’s (International Sailing Federation) Special Event Status, is renowned for delivering top class professional racing that uniquely attracts the world’s best sailors from a range of disciplines (America’s Cup, Olympics and ocean racing skippers), racing in many different formats, with a public focused act staged in a ‘stadium’ format. Over the past 12 months, the events have included conventional long course ‘windward/leeward’ fleet racing, coastal courses, the short course 15-minute close-combat ‘stadium’ races, one against one speed duels, and now since February this year, as a regular feature, match racing

The circuit has been focused on commercially run teams since its inception, and will continue to develop the return on investment for the team sponsors – by both controlling costs (budgets remain in the tens of thousands per market), and visiting more markets to extend the global reach of the event.

The 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ will see an eight event global circuit across Europe, the USA, the Far East and the GCC region. After being approached by more than 60 host venues from around the world in the past six months, there is a current shortlist of 18 for the 2011 circuit, with 2012 discussions also well progressed. The 2010 host venues of Trapani (Italy) and Andalucia (Spain) are already confirmed as part of their multi-year contracts, and OC Events will announce the other venues during October and November.

A ‘typical’ 2011 event will consist of five days of racing, as opposed to three last year. The first two days being ’open water’ courses, where the venue permits, before the action heats up in the close-quarters ‘stadium’ racing over the final three days. “We are looking to expand and improve the Extreme Sailing Series™ on all fronts,” said Mark Turner, Chairman of the newly merged OC ThirdPole outdoor events group that owns the circuit organiser, OC Events. “With multi-format competition at top class venues of different types – city centres, ocean facing, rivers and lakes, top class race management and on-water umpiring, development of the outstanding B2B VIP experience that has been at the heart of the event since the beginning, and a bigger than ever entertainment package for spectators on the water and on shore including our Sailing Rocks™ gigs, the Extreme Sailing Series™ will be going up a level. We have plans in place to expand the TV production and distribution, growing both the news service and the successful worldwide TV series, as well as the online content. We plan to expand the presence of other classes as warm-up acts, to both race and show-off, like the Moth dinghies and windsurfers this year.”

 Th.Martinez/ Sea&Co/ OC Events

With strong demand, and a 12-boat limit in place for 2011, a Preliminary Notice of Race is published today with a pre-entry procedure. Whilst there is an encouraging amount of new team potential, existing teams that have helped grow the circuit will be given priority should the limit be reached. Other evolutions in the rules are expected to ensure that the team budgets remain under tight control, in the value-for-money commercially funded circuit.

The Notice of Race will be published in full by 31 October following the final 2010 event in Almeria, Spain, at which point the full entry procedure will open.

“We have invested heavily in this event since 2007 with good reason. It offers an exceptional return on investment to all stakeholders, in particular, for the ever-improving quality brands that we already have as team sponsors. We shall be announcing some excellent new partnerships at venue, event and team level in the coming months,” confirmed Turner.

Gitana (Photo by Th.  Martinez / Sea&Co. / OC Events)

Gitana (Photo by Th. Martinez / Sea&Co. / OC Events)

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)

Six Extreme 40 catamarans, three countries, 24 sailors: all on a whistle-stop tour of Asia. The inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia finished on Friday 5 February with the 2009 European Champions Oman Sail Masirah being presented the new Series trophy by royalty in the Sultanate of Oman. DON’T MISS THE WORLD SPORT SHOW, CHANNEL 4, SATURDAY 13TH FEBRUARY (more info below)

Oman Sail's Masirah night-sailing in Singapore during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia.
Oman Sail’s Masirah night-sailing in Singapore during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia.
OC Events

OC Events took the award-winning circuit to the region to demonstrate what a future full-scale circuit with shoreside entertainment, VIP hospitality and, of course, the on-water sailing, could deliver to the region. For this first Asian series, the objective was to engage with the media and commercial sectors, whilst at the third and final event in Muscat, a two-day ‘Extreme Beach Event’ took it up a level engaging the public as well.

“This first Extreme Sailing Series Asia exceeded all our expectations. The spectacular sailing conditions in all three locations brought us tight racing by some of the very best sailors and demonstrated the potential to venue partners, key opinion formers, government officials and the media what a full-scale series could bring to their region in future years,” commented Mark Turner, CEO OC Group, owners of the organising company OC Events. “We developed the European circuit in exactly the same way, starting small with a focus on the VIP and media side and four years later here we are with a multi-stop European tour that saw over 200,000 people watch the action in person in 2009. We made the call to go for this first opening series in pretty tough economic times, but we believe our investment will be successful and are already in discussion with potential new venue and series partners for the 2010/2011 tour,” he concluded.

The Extreme Sailing Series Asia circuit received widespread media attention, not only in the countries it visited, but internationally as the media were entertained by the personalities as well as the action on the water. World Sport (formerly Gillette World of Sport), the internationally distributed sports programming, will include Muscat in this week’s show which will go out on UK Terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 this Saturday (7:30am) and the following Tuesday (01:30am) and across Europe. There has been regular coverage from the series on TV channels including a daily live feed on Oman TV, ITV Meridian and Sky Sports (UK), Eurosport and Euronews (FRA), ATV, ORF 1 & 2 (AUT), Media Corp (SNG) and Mediaset (ITA).

The Extreme 40s set off at the start of the Around the Island Race in Hong Kong
The Extreme 40s set off at the start of the Around the Island Race in Hong Kong
Marco Hong/OC Events

The reach will increase from March 2010 when a 26-minute programme will be distributed and air on channels including Sky Sports (UK), Sport + (FRA), ESPN (Pan-Asia) and Fox Sport (pan-USA & South America).

The circuit began in Hong Kong (20-24 November), racing out of the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for five days including a day with the 200-plus fleet for the annual Around the Island Race, where the Extreme 40s took line honours.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team on Day 1 at Singapore
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team on Day 1 at Singapore
Daria Giuliani/Chili-Sports.com


The six catamarans were then packed up and transported to Marina Reservoir, right underneath the World’s tallest observation tower in Singapore (11-15 December), the first time the stretch of water had been used for a professional sport event.

The series concluded last week in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, where the home team Masirah lifted the inaugural championship trophy. Three days of racing in front of a VIP setup, was followed by an ‘Extreme

Thousands gather on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event
Thousands gather on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Beach Party’ with over 2,000 people gathering at Al Hail beach for a five-a-side football competition, volleyball matches, the Muscat round of the Red Bull Street Style competition as well as watching the racing, which took place in front of government statesmen and royalty for the Omani weekend.

“It’s been exciting introducing new people to the circuit,” commented Emily Caroe, PR Director of OC Events Extreme Sailing Series. “There’s nothing better than welcoming a non-sailor to the circuit, be it World record-breaker Assafa Powell in Singapore or a female journalist in her traditional dress who has never even stepped on a boat before. Persuading them to conquer their fears and step onto an Extreme 40 was not easy, but by the time your back is turned, they are on the helm, or trimming and shouting for the hull to fly even higher. It’s such a great experience and provides them with a unique story.”

Fleet racing on day 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat.
Fleet racing on day 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Seventy journalists attended the three, five-day events, and when conditions allowed stepping onboard and racing in the fifth man positions onboard the six Extreme 40s. Andreas Tzortzis, from international magazine, Red Bulletin, raced with double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson onboard Rumbo Almeria. “That was absolutely fantastic. You are absolutely in the thick of it and that is an experience you don’t normally have in sailboat racing unless you are racing yourself. As a spectator, or even as a journalist you don’t nearly get so close so it gives you an understanding of the amount of pressure they are under. It is absolutely astonishing.”

There have been over 180 pieces of quality coverage from the three events, with press junkets at each venue to experience Extreme racing first hand. Journalists attended from Sina.com, China’s leading online portal which ran daily reports, China Boating, The Business Times and Today Newspaper all visited the opening event in Hong Kong. An international visit of GCC media attended the final event in Muscat including journalists from Men’s Passion, Ahlan and Al Rai in Kuwait, the Qatar Tribune, Ohlala Magazine, Bahrain Confidential and Areej Magazines in Bahrain, Business Traveller and City Times in the United Arab Emirates.

“Our goal was to bring a select group of journalists who could experience first hand an Extreme Sailing Series event. Thanks to the support of the Muscat Municipality, they had the chance to see a public facing event with all the activities on Al Hail beach as well as the racing,” commented Caroe.

The six skippers competing in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia
The six skippers competing in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia
Marco Hong/OC Events

Thierry Barot, skipper of China Team was impressed with his first venture into Extreme 40 sailing: “It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategies. I really believe it is the future of sailing. This is what sailing needs in term of development – the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself.”


And as the Asian tour comes to an end, the next begins. The Extreme Sailing Series Europe starts in earnest in May 2010 with the first venues being announced shortly.

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)

 
Oman Sail Masirah crowned winners of the final event in Muscat and the overall Series.
Oman Sail Masirah crowned winners of the final event in Muscat and the overall Series.
(All Photos by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

First European champions, now Oman Sail Masirah is crowned champion of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia. This event was billed locally as ‘Oman Sail versus The World’ and they came out on top in style. It was a great victory on their home soil and it went to the wire with Masirah winning the final race of the Muscat event to clinch both the regatta title and take the Extreme Sailing Series Asia crown. The Wave, Muscat and China Team completed the podium in 2nd and 3rd also for the regatta and overall.

Fleet racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Fleet racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

This three-event Asian tour has seen many familiar faces from the European tour, such as, double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson, solo round the world skipper Nick Moloney and European Champion Pete Cumming, whilst newcomers Thierry Barot on China Team and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing have gone from a ‘standing start’ to put in an awesome performance, pushing the more seasoned racers all the way.

The Asian circuit kicked off in Hong Kong, then Singapore before ending here in Muscat at a full public event:

Thierry Barot (FRA), China Team skipper
Thierry Barot (FRA), China Team skipper
OC Events

“It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategies. I really believe it is the future of sailing,” said China Team skipper Thierry Barot. “This is what sailing needs in term of development – the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself.”

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team racing on day 3 at Muscat
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team racing on day 3 at Muscat
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

At the start of the fifth and final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event there were a few worried and tense looking sailors on the dockside – the wind was blowing over 20 knots and the anticipation of some tense battles ahead only heightened the stakes. Thierry Barot’s China Team and Paul Campbell-James and the crew on The Wave, Muscat were on equal points at the start of racing with Masirah just one point behind and it was clear this was where the battle for the podium would be taking place.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing who suffered a capsize yesterday were just one point ahead of Nick Moloney’s BT, whilst Shirley Robinson on Rumbo Almeria knew she could play catch up if things went in her favour. The scene was set for an awesome display of Extreme racing.

Omani children enjoy watching the Extreme 40s racing, Muscat.
Omani children enjoy watching the Extreme 40s racing, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

As the local crowds gathered on Al-Hail beach for the final day of the ‘Extreme Beach Party’, racing got underway with two rounds of ‘speed runs’.
The reefed Extreme 40s relished these high-speed conditions courtesy of the 20+ knots of north-westerly wind, and flew down the windward/leeward course flying the hulls in front of the packed VIP platform.

Rumbo Almeria racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Rumbo Almeria racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

As the wind dropped to around 10 knots, the huge mainsails were hoisted to the top of the masts, and fleet racing began. The Oman Sail boats led the way – first place for The Wave, Muscat and second for Masirah. China Team finished fourth place behind BT, putting them 6 points behind leaders. Another drama for Red Bull as their mainsail came tumbling down mid-race. They quickly hoisted a man of the mast to sort it out and were back racing in time for the penultimate race.

The pressure was at the max… The skippers jostling for position on the short start line – Paul Campbell-James misjudged the start and was over the line, forcing him to restart as their teammates sailed away to snatch the race. China Team were struggling in the lighter airs, as the Oman boats pulled ahead on the leaderboard. But the double-points final race was coming up…

His Highness Sayyid Shahab bin Tariq Al Said, Advisor to His Majesty, His Excellency Maqbool bin Ali bin Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha bint Abdulameer bin Ali, Minister of Tourism, joined the VIP guests on the platform for the start of the final race.

Oman Sail Masirah crew onboard on the final day at Muscat.
Oman Sail Masirah crew onboard on the final day at Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Only just enough wind remained to propel the boats over the line. Pete Cumming takes up the story: “We’re quite a heavy crew so when the wind went right down, we had a bit on as the guys on The Wave are light and very quick. But they made the cardinal sin of stalling the boat in the start zone, and when it’s really, really light you just have to keep moving as boat speed is key. We saw them stalling the boat and we just sheeted on and got away.” Masirah went into the lead to win the final race and clinch victory here in Muscat. “It’s everything we worked for and hoped for! But you can’t underestimate the guys that turned up for the Asian series at all. We’ve seen the fleet get stronger and stronger and every event and push us harder and harder in every race.”

It was a superb end to a fantastic inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Only in a few months time, the Extreme Sailing Series European circuit will be starting – we can’t wait!

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team rounding the race mark on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team rounding the race mark on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Extreme Sailing Series Asia : Muscat
1st Oman Sail Masirah, 103 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, 101 points
3rd China Team, 91 points
4th BT, 84 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 71 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, 70 points

Extreme Sailing Series Overall:

Extreme 40s racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Extreme 40s racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events


1st Masirah, 18 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, 11 points
3rd China Team, 11 points
4th BT, 10 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 8 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, 5 points