Extreme 40s at Extreme Sailing Series Boston 2011 (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme 40s at Extreme Sailing Series Boston 2011 (Photo by George Bekris)

21 Olympians, 36 AC campaigns, 7 circumnavigations, 47 World Championship wins – all-star 9 nation lineup for Extreme Sailing Series 2012

With less than two weeks to go until the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Muscat, Oman, the Act 1 team line-ups have been confirmed, revealing a stellar cast of top professional sailors. Following the final event of 2011 in Singapore last December, the team managers and skippers have spent the last two months securing the best crews possible to help take them to overall victory in 2012.

Once again, the team rosters include world-renowned sailors from a multitude of backgrounds representing 9 different nationalities. French sailing superstar Loick Peyron, Britain’s three-times ISAF World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams, Austria’s double-Olympic Gold medalist Roman Hagara return to the circuit, whilst American double-Olympic Gold medalist Charlie Ogletree and five-times America’s Cup sailor, Bernard Labro from France are two new faces gracing the roll-call. The teams boast an array of Olympic, America’s Cup, match racing and round the world credentials, as well as a sprinkling of ocean racing record setters. The two key cornerstones for success in this highly competitive circuit are experience and consistency and to this end 2011 runners-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild from France and the Swiss team of Alinghi are keeping their crew changes to a minimum, whilst the two Oman Sail teams are sporting a near new line-up with only Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their places. And there are plenty of new team combinations for this season to spice up the competition!

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

Key Stats:
21 Olympians
4 Gold Medalists + 1 Silver
50 Trans-Atlantics
36 America’s Cup campaigns
47 World Championships
28 European Championships
11 records
7 round the world circumnavigations

A new team for the year is ZouLou who will have the current superstar of sailing, Loick Peyron at the helm for Acts 1–3 prior to team owner Erik Maris taking over. One of France’s most well-known sporting exports and a legendary multihull expert who recently shaved almost 3 days off the non-stop round the world Jules Verne record, Peyron will return to the Extreme Sailing Series. In 2010 he was the skipper and helm of 4th place Oman Sail Masirah.

Peyron contrasts his recent experiences: “I can’t wait to go back to the Extreme Sailing Series with ZouLou crew, and especially to Muscat where I already spent a few weeks with the local team in 2009 and 2010. After two round the world tours in one year [Barcelona World Race and Jules Verne] I am really looking forward to going back to this intense racing amongst these top level crews.“

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has retained their core team of Pierre Pennec on helm and Hervé Cunningham introducing two new faces on bow in the form of Bernard Labro and Jean-Christophe Mourniac who raced for another team in Singapore last December. The Swiss team Alinghi will be helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli supported by the regular Extreme 40 Alinghi crew including Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey. Meanwhile, the renowned Austrian duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher on the Red Bull Sailing Team have confirmed that Matthew Adams will be part of the regular racing crew and introduce ‘newbie’ Graeme Spence on bow who makes the step from shore team to race team.

GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams has gone the extra mile to secure a crew who can race with him for the season: “We have assembled a really strong team this year with a great mix of different skill sets. The only real opportunities to practice will be before the first event in Oman and before Act 5 in Cardiff so having a consistent team will be crucial to improving from event to event.” His crew includes Mark Ivey, Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot and Andrew Walsh – all have raced with GAC Pindar for at least one event in 2011 – and this combination will be integral in continuing their upward trend on the leaderboard.

The Oman Sail teams of The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air return this year with only Olympic Tornado sailor Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their roles from last year. McMillan who skippered The Wave, Muscat into fourth place overall in 2011, has handpicked a team that includes previous Extreme 40 sailors Ed Smyth from the USA, Pete Greenhalgh who with his brother Rob won the inaugural 2007 Extreme Sailing Series, and they will be joined by newcomer Omani sailor Hashim Al Rashdi who has come up through the Oman Sail programme.

Oman Air, will be led by record setting America’s Cup sailor Morgan Larson: “I’ve followed the Extreme Sailing Series since its conception and to now be competing on the tour with such a talented group of competitors is a dream come true.” The team that last year had 3 different skippers including Britain’s Olympic star Ben Ainslie, will benefit from the Extreme 40 experience of Olympic sailor Will Howden and Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari who raced in 2011 with Oman Air on bow, whilst double Olympic gold medalist Charlie Ogletree brings a fresh skill set.

In a test aimed at keeping opportunities open for new talent, the teams will race Act 1 with five sailors rather than four, plus a VIP guest or media person when appropriate. This additional 5th sailor must be either female or under 23, or be classified as an amateur by ISAF. Both The Wave and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will sail with female sailors as a result – Rachel Williamson and Adeline Chatelet respectively – the first girls to race since Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson skippered ‘iShares’ in 2009.

An 8th team for Muscat is still to be announced.

Extreme Sailing in Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing in Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

 

The Wavek, Muscat Crew (Photo by Lloyd Images / OC Events )

The Wavek, Muscat Crew (Photo by Lloyd Images / OC Events )

Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat has won the Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani snatching the overall lead for the Series from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with the Championship title all to play for in Almeria in less than two weeks time. The Medieval city of Trapani has provided some of the best conditions and thrilling action of the year over the past four days with the seven-strong fleet thrilling the spectators with dramatic mark roundings, near pitchpoles and capsizes and match-racing duels as the fleet covered all corners of the Sicilian harbour.

Going into the final day, Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat had a 16-point lead over second placed contender Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Campbell-James thrived in the 15-17 knot wind, posting two wins, two thirds and a sixth, during which they chased their French rivals down the fleet in an aggressive match-race in the five-race afternoon, crossing the finish line set within inches of the spectators.

But the real battle going on wasn’t for the top spot… Four teams were in contention for the second and third podium positions: Groupama 40, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Ecover Sailing Team and Oman Sail Masirah, and none of them were giving up without a fight.

The four teams traded blows, before Groupama dropped out of the running, with two seventh places. And then there were three, but only two podium positions in their sights…

September 26th 2010
The Wave, Muscat, Take Top Spot in Trapani With Overall Championship Title Wide Open
Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat has won the Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani snatching the overall lead for the Series from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with the Championship title all to play for in Almeria in less than two weeks time. The Medieval city of Trapani has provided some of the best conditions and thrilling action of the year over the past four days with the seven-strong fleet thrilling the spectators with dramatic mark roundings, near pitchpoles and capsizes and match-racing duels as the fleet covered all corners of the Sicilian harbour.
 

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events )

Going into the final day, Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat had a 16-point lead over second placed contender Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Campbell-James thrived in the 15-17 knot wind, posting two wins, two thirds and a sixth, during which they chased their French rivals down the fleet in an aggressive match-race in the five-race afternoon, crossing the finish line set within inches of the spectators.

But the real battle going on wasn’t for the top spot… Four teams were in contention for the second and third podium positions: Groupama 40, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Ecover Sailing Team and Oman Sail Masirah, and none of them were giving up without a fight.

The four teams traded blows, before Groupama dropped out of the running, with two seventh places. And then there were three, but only two podium positions in their sights…

But it was Mike Golding’s all British team onboard Ecover Sailing Team who, with dogged determination, improved as their day went on with aggressive starts and lucid tactical calls, posting two bullets in the final two races and take the final podium spot, squeezing out the French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, skippered by Yann Guichard, into a disappointing fourth.

Loick Peyron, skipper of Oman Sail Masirah was relieved to take the second place behind stablemate The Wave, Muscat, “It was up and down for us today, as we all know by now you have to win the starts, that is crucial to winning races. We were efficient on the water and the last race was good. I did make mistakes today and didn’t win a duel against Trapani at one point but it is good to see the local team have a good last day. They have put on a great event.

“The real battle out there was between The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond De Rothschild for the overall fight for the leaderboard. They are both great teams and it will be interesting to see how they respond in Almeria. In general the event was perfect, perfect for Masirah and perfect for Oman Sail. I am really impressed by The Wave Muscat, they have been really consistent all Series.”
 
September 26th 2010
The Wave, Muscat, Take Top Spot in Trapani With Overall Championship Title Wide Open
Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat has won the Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani snatching the overall lead for the Series from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with the Championship title all to play for in Almeria in less than two weeks time. The Medieval city of Trapani has provided some of the best conditions and thrilling action of the year over the past four days with the seven-strong fleet thrilling the spectators with dramatic mark roundings, near pitchpoles and capsizes and match-racing duels as the fleet covered all corners of the Sicilian harbour.
 
 

Going into the final day, Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat had a 16-point lead over second placed contender Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Campbell-James thrived in the 15-17 knot wind, posting two wins, two thirds and a sixth, during which they chased their French rivals down the fleet in an aggressive match-race in the five-race afternoon, crossing the finish line set within inches of the spectators.

But the real battle going on wasn’t for the top spot… Four teams were in contention for the second and third podium positions: Groupama 40, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Ecover Sailing Team and Oman Sail Masirah, and none of them were giving up without a fight.

The four teams traded blows, before Groupama dropped out of the running, with two seventh places. And then there were three, but only two podium positions in their sights…
© Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events

But it was Mike Golding’s all British team onboard Ecover Sailing Team who, with dogged determination, improved as their day went on with aggressive starts and lucid tactical calls, posting two bullets in the final two races and take the final podium spot, squeezing out the French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, skippered by Yann Guichard, into a disappointing fourth.

Loick Peyron, skipper of Oman Sail Masirah was relieved to take the second place behind stablemate The Wave, Muscat, “It was up and down for us today, as we all know by now you have to win the starts, that is crucial to winning races. We were efficient on the water and the last race was good. I did make mistakes today and didn’t win a duel against Trapani at one point but it is good to see the local team have a good last day. They have put on a great event.

“The real battle out there was between The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond De Rothschild for the overall fight for the leaderboard. They are both great teams and it will be interesting to see how they respond in Almeria. In general the event was perfect, perfect for Masirah and perfect for Oman Sail. I am really impressed by The Wave Muscat, they have been really consistent all Series.”

Ecover 40 In Sicily (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events)

Ecover 40 In Sicily (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events)

Golding commented, “A fantastic day really, a great recovery from yesterday and its a great feeling onboard the boat. We knew we had to go and do our own thing today, there was no advantage to us hunting any particular boat out we just wanted to stay safe and run our own race and see how it would pan out. We were hoping that one of the Oman boats would go hunting Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and I think that happened a little bit especially in the last race which helped our cause. It panned out really well for us and we’re very pleased to be where we are at the end of today.

In terms of the overalls its good to see that we’re still holing onto third that was important heading into Almeria, Its still incredibly close for those top spots going into the final event so who knows what will happen.

Trapani the Sailing Seacily’s skipper, Gabriele Bruni was relegated to the spectator stand as he nursed his broken malleolus, sustained on day 2 of racing, and his brother, Azzura Skipper Francesco Bruni took his place. The team had a brilliant last day and a great final race when they were locked tight into a match racing duel with Campbell-James’ The Wave, Muscat, before succumbing to the former Student World Match Racing Champion’s moves and taking their best place of the whole event, a fourth.

“It is good fun watching the racing, but it is much better sailing the races! It is very nice view from here and the boats are really fast and I think for the public it is fantastic, I have never seen such a nice view from the shore, so I think the Extreme Sailing Series is a really nice concept of sailing and I like it even if my story I have always sailed with big, slow boats in the oceans and sailing this is really great, I’ve loved it.”

The final event on the Extreme Sailing Series™ calendar kicks off in just ten days time when the Andalucian city will welcome the circuit for the second consecutive year for the Grand Finale.

With the top four boats separated by just four points for the overall title, nothing will be certain until the 12th of October when the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ Champion will be crowned.

Overall Series Standings:

The Wave, Muscat 28
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 27
Ecover Sailing Team 25
Oman Sail Masirah 24
Groupama 40 12
Red Bull Extreme Sailing 12
The Ocean Racing Club 8
Team GAC Pindar 3

 

Groupe Edmond De Rothschild (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events)

Groupe Edmond De Rothschild (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events)

In 30 degrees and 8-10 knots of the breeze the Sicilian town of Trapani provided a stunning backdrop for the opening day of racing on the penultimate stopover in the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010.
 
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, skippered by Yann Guichard, fresh from their win in Kiel just three weeks ago, came out of the starting blocks with a bang, taking the first three bullets of the day, but The Wave, Muscat, is hot on the Frenchman’s heels, just one point behind after six races.

Seven teams are here in the Medieval town of Trapani, the fleet augmented by a local ‘wildcard’ entry from America’s Cup Strategist, Gabriele Bruni, with his team Trapani, the Sailing Seacily. “It was really great! We had three good races, then in the last three we finished last, but that’s part of the game. The most important thing is that we enjoyed ourselves on the water. The other teams are very well prepared, sometimes we were playing with them, but obviously generally a bit behind. It’s also fantastic to sail in Trapani, in front of the islands, with good breeze.”

Mike Golding’s Ecover Sailing Team, has seen some stunning performances over the past four months of racing and once again looks to be in a good position to challenge for the podium, but is threatened by the fastest man around the planet, Franck Cammas, just one point behind.

With six races completed on day one, there were four boats taking the top spot, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with three wins, but Groupama 40, Red Bull Extreme Sailing each taking a win and The Wave, Muscat finishing the day with a first.

Extreme Sailing Series (Photo by Roberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series (Photo by Roberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events)

The Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani continues tomorrow, Friday 24 September, with the seven teams racing right inside the harbour, in front of the public and VIP spectators, from 2pm. Our weather partner WetterWelt expects 11 to 14 knots of breeze, with potential gusts up to 20 – which given the tight situation on the leaderboard will undoubtedly make for hotly contested races. 
 

Trampani (Photo by Toberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events )

Trampani (Photo by Toberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events )

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

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

The beautiful, medieval port of Trapani, on the western coast of Sicily, will play host to the penultimate round of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010 in just a few days time. Seven teams will line up on 23 September including local hero Gabriele Bruni with his ‘wildcard’ entry Trapani the Sailing Seacily.

“So far we have raced on the coastal waters of Sète, with its Mistral winds, then Cowes on the Isle of Wight, which challenged the crews with its complex, tidal conditions. At the end of August, Kiel in Germany gave the teams their tightest racecourses where over 60,000 people turned out in the pouring rain – their loyalty was rewarded with some thrilling, close quarter combat,” commented Event Director, Gilles Chiorri.

“And now Trapani, where the courses on the three public-facing race days will see the state of the art catamarans put through their paces inside the narrow confines of the medieval harbour. Not only will it be a spectacle, it will challenge the very best skippers and sailors we have on the circuit.”

French rising star, Yann Guichard, skipper of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, currently leads the overall Extreme Sailing Series™ leaderboard, having battled his way to the top demonstrating his picture-perfect starts and his team’s impressive boat-handling skills latterly at the last event in Kiel. Guichard, on 22 points, leads by just 2 points ahead of the youngest skipper in the fleet at just 28, Paul Campbell-James and The Wave, Muscat. The all-British Ecover Sailing Team team led by, Vendée Globe star Mike Golding, is in third place one point behind Campbell-James.

Trapani, Sicily

Trapani, Sicily

Gilles Chiorri concluded, “It’s very tight at the top of the leaderboard, with just three points separating the top three boats, it’s all to play for. There isn’t one clear winner in the fleet by far, anything can happen, and the overall 2010 champion will not be decided until the final event in Andalucia.”

The first day of racing on 23 September will see the fleet head out of the harbour for some longer, classic windward/leeward courses before finishing inside the harbour ahead of the official opening ceremony in the evening.

The in-harbour, stadium-style racing in front of the public will start on the afternoon of Friday 24 September for the seven top professional teams. With 48 World Championship titles, 21 Olympics attended, 14 round the World navigations and 19 sailing records amongst them, the pressure is on amongst the teams to prove their mettle.

Mr Mimmo Turano President of the Province of Trapani said, ‘We are very pleased to have concluded this agreement for many years with a major corporation that brings another important event in Trapani for professional sailing teams.
“We are really satisfied for us to see some of the sailors, who have already competed in Trapani in the America’s Cup in 2005, gladly return to the province of Trapani as evidence of good memories that they’ll bring to the event,” he concluded.

Local Sicilian sailing hero and Olympian Gabriele Bruni will skipper the ‘home’ team, Trapani the Sailing Seacily. Bruni, who represented Italy at the Sydney Olympics in the 49er class and along with his brother, Francesco, races with the Italian America’s Cup team Azzurra, will be joined by his fellow Hobie Tiger World Champion Alberto Sonino on the helm, European Lightening and Optimist Champion Mario Noto on the bow and Giuseppe Leonardi will be the Trimmer.

“I’m really happy to be involved in this international event held in the Trapani waters. The best sailors of the world will line-up and I’m sure we’ll enjoy a lot,” commented Bruni. “Our professional crew is proud to race the Extreme Sailing Series onboard Trapani the Sailing Seacily. In the last years we spent a lot of our time racing the monohulls so it is pretty exciting to come back, especially with my old mate Alberto Sonino, to the unique emotions that only the multihulls can provide.”

Trapani is the most Western port town on the Italian island of Sicily. Twinned with the famous French sailing port of Les Sables-d’Olonne, its crystal clear waters provide beautiful sailing and cruising conditions for thousands of sailors every year and its wind conditions are famed for delivering a consistent breeze throughout the year for both cruisers and racers alike. A rich trading centre throughout the early Middle Age, and a halfway point for Tunisia and Africa, Trápani is enjoying a renewed revitalization thanks to the huge salt pans to the south of town.

Gabriele Olivo, trimmer onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing, was the lone Italian sailor in the circuit up until now. “I’m really looking forward to sailing in Italy and especially in Sicily. Trapani has been proved in the past to be one of the best places in the world for sailing. The crowds will love the event and I’m sure it will prove to be a really popular event and it will be a fantastic week.

“I’m very happy that I won’t be the only Italian in the circuit, like in the other venues, because we are joined by a local boat skippered by Gabriele Bruni. I hope this will help to inspire the Italian sailors to these incredible and extreme races.”

Teams/Skippers entered into the Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani:

Ecover Sailing Team (GBR) – Mike Golding (GBR)
Groupama 40 (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) – Yann Guichard (FRA)
Oman Sail Masirah (OMA) – Loick Peyron (FRA)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT)
The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Trapani the Sailing Seacily (ITA) – Gabriele Bruni (ITA)

Red Bull Sailing Team ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Red Bull Sailing Team ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Team Groupe Edmond De Rothschild ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Team Groupe Edmond De Rothschild ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Yann Guichard and his crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have won the third round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Kiel with a race to spare – an unusual occurrence on this circuit that normally sees every event go to the wire in the final double points race. However, there was no stopping Guichard who took control of the German event yesterday, unseating Britain’s Mike Golding from the top of the leaderboard. Today the French team scored four 1st places and two 4th places in the six fleet races: “I think that’s the best event we have ever done,” said Guichard. “We were in the match since the first day, our manoeuvres got better and better and the last two days were almost perfect. We enjoyed ourselves onboard and the results speak for themselves. Sometimes, like today, things just go well – we could have had 10 races today and I’m sure it would’ve been just as fine!”

The Extreme Sailing Series™ Kiel event, supported by Kiel.Sailing City, delivered tough and tricky racing conditions for the 9 competing teams who rose to the challenges and entertained the 65,000 strong crowd that lined the Kiellinie shoreline over the four days.

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet crosses by a cruise ship in Kiel ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet crosses by a cruise ship in Kiel ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Conditions were similar to yesterday – big rain squalls bringing big gusts, then decreasing wind – and there was plenty of action on the short race courses resulting in numerous penalties. There was a collision between Red Bull Extreme Sailing and The Wave, Muscat in the third race of the day in a port/starboard incident approaching the weather mark – the impact was so loud it was heard inside the VIP enclosure! Neither team incurred major damage and carried on racing with Roman Hagara’s team awarded a 4-point redress as they sat out the next race to affect repairs to their bow on the water

The all-British team on Ecover, having led for the first two days, had to settle for 2nd place overall and that was not without a fight. At the start of the final day they were lying in third behind Oman Sail Masirah, skippered by Loick Peyron. But good fighting tactics saw them move into 2nd overall after two races which they managed to cling on to: “It was a really good event for us and, more importantly, we are moving forward our expectations in the overall series which is great,” said Golding. “We had one slightly shaky day here but we see a continuous improvement which is important. There’s no secret, it’s all about team work and training, and it’s paying now.”

The battle for 3rd place then developed between the two Omani teams of Oman Sail Masirah and The Wave, Muscat. Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, finally got the upper hand in the penultimate race moving into 3rd overall with 120 points, 1 point ahead of Masirah. In the final double points race, Loick Peyron had the advantage but ‘CJ’ fought back to finish ahead and take 3rd place on the podium.

Mid-leaderboard Mitch Booth on The Ocean Racing Club continued to dominate, finishing on equal points with Masirah, but awarded 5th place overall on countback. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, involved in so much of the action here today, finished in 6th place on 99 points, ahead of Groupama on 92 points, helmed by Tanguy Cariou whilst Franck Cammas demolished the Round Britain & Ireland course record on his Groupama VO70. A ‘home’ team battle raged between the German ‘wild card’ entries of Team Wirsol Germany, with the young skipper Tino Mittelmeier at the helm, and the Audi Sailing Team Germany which facilitates training for the 2012 Olympics. Going into the final day, only 1 point separated the two teams to Audi’s advantage, but a spectacular win in the second race of the day for Team Wirsol Germany – that sent the thousands of spectators ecstatic – helped them overhaul their compatriots.

Next stop for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ is Trapani, Sicily over the 24-26 September, the penultimate event of the circuit: “I’ve never been to Trapani, we’re going to race in the harbour so maybe it will be comparable to Almeria,” commented Guichard. “At this time of the year there should be some thermal breeze so conditions should be pleasant and we can expect a good fight.” Yann Guichard now has two wins under his belt (Séte and Kiel) and Paul Campbell-James one (Cowes). “I think we clearly demonstrated that we’re a force to be reckoned with for the Overall Series victory,” said Guichard. “We’re now more than halfway into the season, and with this second event win we take a psychological advantage as well as one in terms of points, so we’re very happy.” From the performance here in Kiel it looks like Guichard’s campaign is gathering steam – can anyone stop the ‘express train’ now?

Extreme 40 Action (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Event )

Extreme 40 Action (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Event )

Kiel.Sailing City
Situated on the Baltic Coast in northern Germany, this iconic sailing venue plays host to the German round of the Extreme Sailing Series™ at the halfway stage of the 2010 circuit. The city of Kiel, home to the famous Kieler Woche, is well used to hosting other international ISAF endorsed events and the crowds turn out in there thousands to watch the Extreme Sailing Series™ Kiel. In 2009, in pouring rain, over 45,000 people watched the action for the three-day event and in 2008 in glorious sunshine, over 80,000. At the 2010 event an estimated crowd of 65,000 attended the four-day event.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Kiel Overall Results
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 167 points
2nd Ecover Sailing Team 142 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat 128 points
4th Oman Sail Masirah 125 points
5th The Ocean Racing Club 125 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 99 points
7th Groupama 40 92 points
8th Wirsol Team Germany 67 points
9th Audi Sailing Team Germany 61 points

Crew Celebrations

Crew Celebrations ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010 Overall Standings
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 22 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat 20 points
3rd Ecover Sailing Team 19 points
4th Oman Sail Masirah 17 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 10 points
6th Groupama 40 9 points
7th The Ocean Racing Club 8 points
8th Team GAC Pindar* 3 points

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.

Franck Cammas and Groupama 40 Crew In The Water After Collision with Boat and Wall ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events )

Franck Cammas and Groupama 40 Crew In The Water After Collision with Boat and Wall ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events )

There was plenty of dramatic action on day two of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week today. With 18-20 knots of breeze, gusting over 20 at times, the nine teams were racing right on the edge, demanding 100% concentration and a constant rush of adrenalin for both the sailors and the spectators from the near capsizes, near misses and some not so near misses…
 
In race 11 (the fourth inshore race of today), approaching the windward mark Yann Guichard’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild hit Franck Cammas’ Groupama 40 wiping out both rudders, leaving Groupama with no steerage whatsoever. Groupama 40 were heading straight for the shore at speed and for safety the crew leapt into the water to avoid the impact of hitting the sea wall – deciding they would prefer getting wet than being thrown forward on the boat and potentially injuring themselves. Groupama 40 has sustained both rudder and daggerboard damage and it will be a long night for the shore team to get them back racing tomorrow. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has lodged a protest which the jury will hear and award redress if relevant.

 

 
Paul Campbell-James, the youngest skipper on the circuit at just 28, ensured The Wave, Muscat finished inside the top four in today’s races including the morning offshore race and the five inshore races this afternoon held off Egypt Point. Two wins this afternoon, two seconds and two third places put them top of the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard on 85 points: “We got good starts which is a big part of today and we were pushing really hard downwind when we needed to. Sometimes we were so close to capsizing but you have to push it hard at times and back off at others.”

Yesterday, British skipper Mike Golding said he didn’t mind if they didn’t score any ‘bullets’ today, stating finishing inside the top four was more important. But his helm Leigh McMillan and the crew had other ideas – posting a win in the offshore race in the morning, then two further bullets in the penultimate and ultimate race of the day to finish in second place with 80 points. This kept the home crowd, who packed into the Extreme Bar and along the shoreline, happy as they cheered Golding’s crew all the way.

The Wave, Muscat At Cowes Week Extreme 40 Sailing (Photo by Paul Wyeth /  OC Events)

The Wave, Muscat At Cowes Week Extreme 40 Sailing (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events)

All the skippers talk about the importance of consistency but yesterday’s leader Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah found his top form elusive today, only posting a third place in the second race this afternoon which leaves Peyron’s team in third place overall with 74 points – 7 points ahead of Guichard’s team in 4th.

Double Olympic Gold Medalist Roman Hagara had another day of mixed fortunes – one race win and a second place in the penultimate race, keeps them in contention in the middle of the leaderboard in 6th place, five points behind Mitch Booth’s The Ocean Racing Club who did well in this morning’s offshore finishing in second. Another frustrating day for Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who had rudder problems before the start of the first race then had to drop the mainsail between races to sort out another problem. The team unpracticed in the art of Extreme 40 racing, put a reef in early and raced cautiously throughout the afternoon, although the 1989 Formula 40 World Champion demonstrated why he clinched that title with a couple of great starts.

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

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

 

The opening day of the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week opened at full throttle delivering some stunning race action to the crowds lining Cowes shoreline at Egypt Point as the nine Extreme 40s took centre stage for five short course races this afternoon.
Newcomers Veolia Environnement had their first extreme drama in the very first race when, just metres after the start in the afternoon, they collided with a mooring bouy ripping the helm out of skipper Roland Jourdain’s hand and breaking the starboard rudder. It put them out of action for the day but Veolia Environnement is anticipated to be back on the start line for tomorrow.

It was Loick Peyron and his crew that put in the most consistent performance of the afternoon starting with a fifth, then three second places and a bullet in the last race to put Oman Sail Masirah at the top of the leaderboard at the end of Day 1 with 46 points: “We work together to keep consistent because that’s what count here. Our objective is to make the top 4 in each race.”

Extreme Sailing Series At Cowes Day One (Photo by Paul Wyeth/ OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series At Cowes Day One (Photo by Paul Wyeth/ OC Events )

Ecover’s combined local knowledge of the Solent waters put Golding’s team in the running, finishing day 1 in second place on the leaderboard – the best result ever in his second year of campaigning in the Extreme Sailing Series: “The main thing about today is that we loved the win to begin with but the key thing for us was that we were consistent in pretty much every race and really that’s the key to it. If we can be consistent tomorrow and don’t mind if we go the whole day without a bullet so long as we’re consistently doing well in the regatta.

After the offshore morning race from the Royal Yacht Squadron to the mainland at Calshot, won by Mike Golding’s Ecover Sailing Team, the afternoon inshore racing started in earnest. After a gloomy start, the sun kicked in and lit up the race course as a solid 12-18 knots of wind built and the spectators that sat out all afternoon were rewarded for their dedication as the nine Extreme 40s scorched around the very short racecourses, often with their bows down and rudders out drawing gasps and cheers from the public. The short courses and their proximity to the shore combined with the wind ensured the pace was frenetic, forcing plenty of mistakes, keeping the umpires on their toes and the Extreme crews having to think fast on their feet.

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara and his Red Bull Extreme Sailing team came out of the starting blocks on a mission but the conditions proved challenging in more ways than one, as Hagara summed up: “We crashed into a rock in the first race [long offshore], won the second race and will try and forget the rest of the day! One pre-start, one penalty and some mistakes…. We know that we can do it in a better way.”

“It was right on the limit today – the whole racecourse was very, very short and the differences between the front boat and the back boat were minuscule. It’s so easy to lose places and if you make one mistake you can drop three or four places, but you can win it back if you keep your game together. The fact that everything was happening at such a frenetic pace you can’t really think at that pace as there is so much happening, it’s hard to take it all in. It’s lovely here at Cowes – great venue, great shorefront and we can see and hear the people on the shore cheering and yelling, and that’s a great feeling which is unusual in sailing.”

Hot favourites Yann Guichard’s crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, found the conditions testing and finished in third place on the leaderboard with 38 points. It make take Guichard’s men a while to get used to the vagaries of The Solent but no one is under-estimating their comeback.

For full results, go to http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results/cowes/

Schedule for Sunday 1 August:

Planned from 12h00 – Moth Demonstrations & Racing
First Extreme 40 start at 3pm off Egypt Point
Daily public prizegiving 5.30pm
Jakey Chan & Wills of Steel 7-11pm Free entry

 

Cowes Action (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Cowes Action (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )