Extreme Sailing Series announces major step forward; wants to change "the way sailing seen"
On the eve of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Estoril (Portugal), the Extreme Sailing Series™ unveiled a great package of interesting and varied host venues, and top level professional sailing teams and skippers for 2011. The award-winning and ‘ISAF Special Event’ circuit is going truly global as it enters its fifth year, with 9 events spanning 3 continents, over 11 months and 10 teams representing 8 nations. A core objective of the event remains to be the most commercially sound way for brands and host venues to benefit from the great offer that professional sailing can present. This philosophy has been at the heart of the product since its inception in 2006, with the vast majority of teams since 2007 being sponsorship funded. The 2011 package provides a global sponsorship platform, at a very accessible budget level, and with a queue of sailors keen to compete.
“The circuit has come a long way since 2007 when we had just 4 European events and 5 teams,” commented Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of organisers OC ThirdPole. “We continue to attract new top sponsored teams, sailors and, importantly, major new venues where we can showcase the sport with our game-changing ‘stadium’ format. The choice of venues for 2011 has been our core commercial team focus since the end of 2009. We are getting closer to the perfect mix of established iconic cities, premium venues, great sailing destinations and emerging (sailing) markets.
“We continue to maintain the mix of sporting integrity and entertainment. We have shown inshore sailing can actually be fun to watch for the non-sailor as well as the sailor! Part of the DNA of the circuit since the beginning, our 5th man spot remains one of the sport’s greatest assets – be it for sponsors clients, media, TV cameramen, or prizewinners drawn from the general public,” he concluded.
A circuit spanning North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia
The 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ kicks off in the Sultanate of Oman in February, as part of the annual Muscat Festival, before heading to China for Act 2 (location to be announced separately). The gateway between Europe and Asia, and European City of Sport for 2012, Istanbul, will host the third Act before the Extreme 40 fleet travels to the United States of America for the first time, to Boston’s waterfront in time for the July 4th celebrations.
Cowes Week welcomes the Extreme 40s for the fifth consecutive year for Act 5, ahead of a return to the Sicilian port of Trapani, for the second consecutive year. The French round will be staged on Mediterranean waters in Nice before Almería, in Andalucia, Spain hosts the penultimate event and the 2011 circuit will be decided in Singapore in mid-December.
10 Teams Representing 8 Nations, with sailors from more than 12 countries, and from diverse backgrounds (Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup, Olympic Gold medalists, World Match Racing Tour etc..)
Diversity and quality are once again hallmarks of the Extreme Sailing Series line up.
Two-times runner-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild returns (skipper as yet unknown); new entry Luna Rossa has snapped up last year’s winning skipper Paul Campbell-James as helm, with the boat skippered by America’s Cup winning sailor, Max Sirena. Oman Air Masirah, returns, skippered by French Volvo Ocean Race veteran Sidney Gavignet; double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara enters for the second season with his Red Bull Extreme Sailing team.
Britain’s Ian Williams, two times winner of the World Match Racing Tour joins Team GAC Pindar; another new Italian entry, Team Nice, led by Alberto Barovier and 2010 winners, The Wave, Muscat return to defend their title, this time skippered by emerging star Torvar Mirsky.
Alinghi returns to the fleet after winning in 2008, skippered by experienced Extreme 40 tactician Tanguy Cariou; Paul Cayard’s Artemis Racing is skippered by American Terry Hutchinson and finally, new to the 2011 circuit will be Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Kiwi America’s Cup winner, Dean Barker, who experienced Extreme 40 racing for the first time at the final event in Almería this year.
2011 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1: 22-24 February, Muscat, Oman (20-21 ‘open-water’ racing*)
Act 2: 15-17 April, China (13-14 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 3: 27-29 May, Istanbul, Turkey (25-26 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA (all days public event)
Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, UK (all days public event)
Act 6: 16-18 September, Trapani, Italy (14-15 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 7: 30 September – 2 October, Nice, France (28-29 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, Spain (all days public event)
Act 9: 9-11 December, Singapore (7-8 ‘open-water’ racing)
* ‘open-water’ racing means that the Race Manager can use whatever part of the arena is best for racing – once the public village is open in ‘stadium’ mode there are sometimes constraints in this respect in order to ensure the fans can see all the action.
2011 Confirmed* Teams & Skippers:
Team Name/ Nat Skipper Name (Nat.)
Alinghi/ SUI - Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Artemis Racing/ SWE - Terry Hutchinson (USA)
Emirates Team New Zealand/ NZL - Dean Barker (NZL)
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild/ FRA (As Yet Unknown)
Luna Rossa/ ITA - Max Sirena (ITA)
Oman Air Masirah/ OMA - Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing/ AUT - Roman Hagara (AUT)
Team GAC Pindar/ GBR - Ian Williams (GBR)
Team Nice/ ITA - Alberto Barovier (ITA)
The Wave, Muscat/ OMA - Torvar Mirsky (AUS)