The Extreme Sailing Series enters now into its eighth year of existence and if one is to judge by the venues and participating teams, organizers OC Sports are set to announce on Wednesday, 2014 certainly promises to be a fantastic year. However, our sources Down Under gave us a preview of what to expect:
A total of 8 cities will play host to an Extreme Sailing Series event this year and five of them have already seen the Extreme 40 fleet racing on their waters. Singapore, Muscat, Qingdao Cardiff and Istanbul are no strangers to the Extreme Sailing Series but two new, and exciting, venues seem to come onboard this year, Saint-Petersburg in Russia and Sydney. It appears that the seventh regatta, or Act as they call it, of the circuit is still undecided but will take place somewhere in the Mediterranean (I truly hope it’s in Valencia!).
Venues of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2014
Act 1: Singapore, 20-23 February
Act 2: Muscat, 19-22 March
Act 3: Qingdao, 1-4 May
Act 4: Saint Petersburg, 26-29 June
Act 5: Cardiff, 22-25 August
Act 6: Istanbul, 11-14 September
Act 7: Mediterranean 2-5 October (still unconfirmed venue)
Act 8: Sydney, 11-14 December
In what regards the participating teams, the standard definitely edges up. Not only is Franck Cammas back in the Series after a four-year hiatus, Sir Ben Ainslie, the world’s most successful sailor, will be back after a short stint in 2011 but this time with his own team, JP Morgan BAR. Ainslie skippered Oman Air in 2011 in three events. With their sights firmly set on the 35th America’s Cup and no AC45 action foreseen this year, both Cammas and Ainslie will certainly use the Extreme Sailing Series as a training platform.
The Sultanate of Oman now appears to be backing again two teams, as Oman Air are back in the circuit. Is that related to the rumored entry of Oman in the 35th America’s Cup?
The remaining core group consists of well-known teams in the circuit, such as Alinghi, GAC Pindar, Realteam, Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
The rumor mill wanted Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand entering the circuit this year but that doesn’t seem to be the case. GAC Pindar becomes Australian in 2014 and will be skippered by Seve Jarvin, the young Australian, current 18FT Skiff World Champion. Javin’s team, Gotta Luv it 7, is managed by Iain Murray who also happens to be Manager of the 35th America’s Cup Challenger of Record, Hamilton Island. Could that signal Hamilton Island’s, indirect, entry into the Extreme Sailing Series? We’ll know in a couple of days.
This is a fantastic lineup both in terms of quality teams and landmark cities. Our only complain is that there is no serious entry from Asia. There will certainly be a few local wildcards in Singapore and Qingdao but it certainly is a pity that the Koreans and Chinese seem to be unable to fund teams for the entire circuit.
Core teams and skippers of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2014
1. Alinghi (SUI) – Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
2. GAC Pindar (AUS) – Seve Jarvin (AUS)
3. Groupama (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
4. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – Ben Ainslie (GBR)
5. Oman Air (OMA) – Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
6. Realteam (SUI) – Jérome Clerc (SUI)
7. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT)
8. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
9. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Leigh McMillan (GBR)