Extreme 40's circuit: Sport or show?
The Extreme 40's are certainly fun boats to watch and when the breeze gets strong there is plenty of dramatic action as they pitch pole, capsize and collide. This is exactly what took place on Sunday, second day of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week. According to the official press release, "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."
That produced some undoubtedly spectacular footage but is that the aim? To have crash and burn races where the sporting result is of no significance as long as you have spectacular mishaps? After all conditions in Cowes on Sunday were identical to what the 11-strong RC44 fleet experienced in Valencia on Thursday and Friday. The breeze was between 15 and 20 knots throughout the day, with a few gusts at 21-22 knots, and the choppy sea didn't make things any easier. Yet, there was hardly anything that would even get close to what took place in Cowes. Is the Extreme 40 circuit designed in such a way as to put much more emphasis on the show rather than the sport?
Groupama's Extreme 40 crashes on the concrete pier after being hit. Cowes, 1 August 2010. Video copyright Extreme Sailing Series
Labels: Extreme 40