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)

Cowes Week 2011 Aberdeen Asset Management Pitchpoles (Photo by Extreme Sailing Series / Lloyd Images )
It was another action-packed, full pressure day at the Extreme Sailing Series. After yesterday’s collision between Artemis Racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild in the fourth race, the breezy conditions continued today (Monday, 8th August), and it was in the sixth race when the Extreme 40 ‘Aberdeen Asset Management’ cart-wheeled spectacularly in gusty 20-25 knot conditions that were pushing the fleet to their limits.

The British Extreme 40 team helmed by John Pink was charging downwind with reefed mainsail and gennaker, sandwiched between Italian team Niceforyou and Austria’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing. The bows dug in as a big gust hit all three boats, and with no room to manoeuvre, the boat cart-wheeled, flipped almost vertical, before capsizing: “We felt we were in control mainly and kept going a bit quicker today than we had on the other days,” said John Pink. “Coming down that run it just all got very close and the breeze kind of seemed to fill in behind so everyone bunched up a little bit and then we had no where to go!” The four crew (John Pink, Rick Peacock, Gregory Homann, John Gimson) hung on to the trampoline and all the crew were safe and unhurt. The experienced Olympic 49er sailors of Pink and Peacock have been putting in a great performance in the windy conditions over the last three days with two podium results today. “We were very happy, it was coming together and hopefully we can put the boat back together for tomorrow hopefully,” continued Pink. “We will work on it pretty hard tonight, sort everything out so it is back in shape and we’ll be back in the water tomorrow with a bit of luck.”
Once again, the Extreme 40 fleet had been split into groups to race on the tight stadium course off Egypt Point, but these excluded Artemis Racing who was unable to repair their significant damage from the crash yesterday and are out of Act 5. In the first race it was Leigh McMillan at the helm of The Wave, Muscat who led the way, the crew working slickly together in the testing conditions, and won the first race ahead of John Pink’s Aberdeen Asset Management. In the second race, it was Oman Air who came to the fore ahead of Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar after a close battle. By race 3, the French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were back racing – pretty impressive as the team only craned the boat back into the water just 2 hours before racing started – and Pierre Pennec nailed their first race ahead of the Italians on Niceforyou. Team GAC Pindar and Luna Rossa then both got a win in the following two races with Leigh McMillan getting his second win of the day in the final race. After three days and 16 races, and going into the midway point of Act 5, Luna Rossa tops the leaderboard with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild moving up to 2nd overall in the standings having been given redress for the races they missed.
Another busy night in the pitlane to get Aberdeen Asset Management back racing tomorrow but certainly feasible with a spare mast available.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Current overall standings: after 16 races, Day 3 (8.8.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 74 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 73.4 points*
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 68 points
4th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 57 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 52 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 51 points
7th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 46 points
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 35 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 35 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 31 points
11th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 21 points
12th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 16 points
*Redress given.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing, skippered by Roman Hagara (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

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

 

– 48 of the World’s very best sailors will be in Cowes for Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series™. Twelve teams and sailors from 15 nationalities will be on the startline in Cowes for the only UK stopover on the 2011 circuit during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
– On-water entertainment each day from 3pm from Saturday 6th to Friday 12th August 2011.
– BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank to close the seven days of competition with a ticket-only party, raising funds for official Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 charity Toe in the Water, supporting competitive sailing for injured servicemen.

Cowes, will once again play host to the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ circuit. Twelve teams with 48 sailors from 15 nationalities, will line up on the starting grid on Saturday 6th August for Act 5 at the only UK stopover on the global circuit at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

Watch the Cowes Week Promo Video here

The Extreme 40 fleet racing at Cowes Week 2010 © Lloyd Images

The Set-Up

The Extreme Village will once again be at Egypt Point. Open from 11am each day, it is the perfect spot to watch all the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week fleet starts before the Extreme 40s kick off in front of the Extreme Village at 3pm each afternoon.

In addition, a two storey VIP marquee will be in place, designed to give invited guests a panoramic view of the race course as they enjoy the experiential hospitality.

With live commentary, food concessions, including fish and chip specialists CATCH, the Extreme Bar, the Island’s renowned Minghellas ice cream stand and a Marinepool Extreme Sailing Series™ clothing concession, the Extreme Village is the perfect place to enjoy Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, without missing a moment of the action.

Professional Windsurfer Guy Cribb racing the Extreme 40s at Cowes Week 2010 © Lloyd Images

Racing Schedule

The Extreme Sailing Series™ is the home of ‘Stadium Sailing’ and each afternoon from 3pm the on-water action will kick off in style.

Saturday to Tuesday will see the Extreme 40s in action from 3pm right in front of the Extreme Village at Egypt Point. From Wednesday to Friday the Extreme Village will be a great vantage point to come and watch all the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week action and as soon as the last finishers are past Egypt Point, the Extreme 40s will be lining up for their first start.

But there will be plenty to do and see before the main action gets underway. British Championship Windsurfer Guy Cribb has challenged the Extreme 40s to some head-to-head combat and will be showing the crowds some of his fancy tricks at the weekend.

Every afternoon, at 6.15pm there will be a presentation to the top boat of the day : an opportunity to come and meet some of the top international sailing heroes.

Cowes venue map showing location of the race area and race village

Fireworks Night

BBC Radio 1 DJ and Curator of Bestival, Rob da Bank, will for the third year return to Cowes for a one-night ticket only set to close the Extreme Sailing Series™ on Fireworks Night, Friday 12 August. From 8pm, Rob, a long-time supporter of the circuit and sailing fan, will provide entertainment for the 500 guests.

Rob commented, “Every year that the Extreme Sailing Series comes to Cowes with their insane stadium sailing it gets me more excited about the possibilities of sailing really bloody fast boats as close as possible to the spectators! I love music and sailing about equally so to be invited to be part of the Extreme Fireworks party is a great honour once more!”

Tickets, priced £12, are on sale now from www.extremesailingseries.com/cowes and are strictly on a first come, first served basis with £1 from every ticket going to official charity Toe in the Water.

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 Muscat Capsizing (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

Extreme 40 Muscat Capsizing (Photo courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series)

Whether it’s online, on your iPhone, iPad or on Facebook, you can watch the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ launch press conference live via a multitude of platforms!

On Monday 13 December at 1900 hours GMT the venues and teams for the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ will be announced on the eve of the World Yacht Racing Forum, in Estoril, Portugal.
Join us online to discover which top flight professional teams and skippers will be taking part in the fifth season of this award-winning circuit; which major cities and venues the 2011 tour will be visiting; and the innovations, both on and off the water, that will continue to bring the circuit to you, wherever you are in the world.
Hosted by BBC Olympic sailing commentator, Richard Simmonds, and joined by Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of event organisers OC ThirdPole, hear what some of the skippers and other key industry movers and shakers have to say about the Extreme Sailing Series™.
 
  
The press conference will be available to watch live online at:
The Official Site
Livestream
Sail TV
Valencia Sailing
The Daily Sail
Sail Race Win
Sailing Anarchy

(more will be added, check out the Extreme Sailing Series™ website for more details).
The press conference will also be streamed on the Extreme Sailing Series™ Facebook page.
You can also download the Livestream App to your iPad or iPhone here and watch it live when on the move.

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)

Paul Campbell-James and Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James and The Wave, Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James on The Wave, Muscat has won the UK Round of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week – the first ever regatta win for the youngest skipper on the circuit – claiming an OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean watch as part of the prize as top Skipper for the UK round.  Thirty-six races over six days in front of 60,000+ spectators – the UK round of the five-stop circuit has delivered everything that the Extreme Sailing Series is about. Spectacular, adrenalin-pumping action on the water, enthralling the thousands of spectators who packed into the Extreme Race Village at Egypt Point and along The Esplanade.

The conditions throughout the event have demanded the utmost focus and physical effort from the nine competing teams and today was no exception with 20-25 knots of south-westerly breeze across the short race course and a choppy sea state.  Classic conditions for a potential pitch-pole or capsize and the crews knew it, racing with one reef in the mainsail and an extra fifth pro crew to add a bit of extra weight. The top mark proved a dangerous turning mark as they hoisted their giant gennakers to head downwind at full pelt – the crews ready in a second to ease the sails if the bows dug into the waves too deep.

Going into the fifth and final double points race of the day, Paul Campbell-James and his crew had almost done enough to keep the lead from Britain’s Mike Golding, but they had to finish the race – zero points and Ecover would claim the top spot. As it was the team did enough, scoring a 4th in the final race, to win the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series on 249 points: “We knew if we capsized it would be the end of the regatta so pretty pleased to get through it,” said a relieved Campbell-James on the podium. 

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

But the Ecover team is ecstatic with their second overall place, their best result to date and appreciated the home crowd support: “It’s been great to have the support from the shore – you can even hear the yells and shouts from on board the boat,” said Golding. Tornado Olympic sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden have bought a new performance level to Mike’s team, who stepped back to allow the McMillan take the helm. It was a shrewd move and Golding’s team are really starting to gel, and will certainly be a force to contend with in the future.  Yann Guichard’s men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, winners at the first round in France, always excel in light airs but struggle at times in heavy conditions. A final win in the last race would have lifted their spirits to secure third overall on the podium.

A real battle developed mid-leaderboard between Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah, Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Groupama 40. Only a handful of points separated these three going into the final race. Peyron secured fourth overall, although he never really got into his stride here, and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing claimed 5th and although lacked consistency they, nonetheless, scored six bullets, ahead of the fastest man round the planet Franck Cammas on Groupama 40.  Groupama 40 provided the most dramatic moment of the UK round on the second day when the 40-foot catamaran careered towards the concrete sea wall without steerage. Franck and the crew had no option but to leap to safety.

Team GAC Pindar, who had the satisfaction of claiming some race wins here, proving that when they get it right they are competitive, finished in 7th place ahead of Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who is competing in the UK round as a one-off experience (for now!).  For the co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, Mitch Booth and the Team Ocean Racing Club, it proved to be a disastrous regatta, breaking their front beam ahead of the penultimate day and then having to sit and watch the other eight boats have some of the best racing this circuit has ever seen.

The Wave, Muscat’s victory here means they now share the top spot on the overall Series leaderboard with 14 points apiece.  Two points behind Oman Sail Masirah on 12 points.

Next stop for the Extreme Sailing Series is Kiel in Germany between 26-29 August.