Monday, June 16, 2008

James Spithill and Russell Coutts to match race in Extreme 40's

A new event was presented last Friday in Milan, Italy. It will take place in Cattolica, on the Italian Adriatic coast, from Thursday till Sunday and will see James Spithill and Russell Coutts, respectively helmsman and CEO of BMW Oracle, face off in a series of match races.

The two sailors will participate in this exhibition regatta, organized by their Italian teammate Max Sirena, aboard the now-famous Extreme 40 catamarans in what will probably be a training session for the upcoming 33rd America's Cup Match, presumably to be held some time between October 2008 and July 2009.

According to Sirena, the event is open to all interested match racers. For the inaugural event only Spithill and Coutts will take part but from next year, the best sailors of the world will have the opportunity to join. Obviously, by that time next year the 33rd America's Cup might be over and depending on its result there might be no interest at all in match racing Extreme 40's.

The event, named "JAEGER-LECOULTRE JUST THE BEST MATCH RACE 1ST", will consist of traditional windward/leeward match races and was initially planned to be raced in RC44's but given the recent developments, Sirena stated they thought it would be more appropriate to use the Extreme 40 catamarans. According to Sirena, it will be a "challenger cup", meaning that its winner, every year, will have to accept challengers, in what appears to be very similar to the America's Cup.

In the first boat James Spithill will sail together with John Kostecki, Dirk de Ridder and Alan Smith. The crew of the second boat will consist of Russell Coutts, Max Sirena, Simeon Tienpont and Pete Melvin, the US multihull specialist.

For those interested, here is the video from the presentation:

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