Archive | Extreme Sailing Series

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Extreme Sailing Series – The fittest bowman

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

The Extreme Sailing Series strapped heart rate monitors on the chests of SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s Peter Wilbroe and Alinghi’s Yves Detrey and produced a very interesting video that really shows how demanding the role of a bowman can be on an Extreme 40. Even in light conditions, an Extreme 40 race is far from a walk in the park.

David “Freddie” Carr does an excellent job in commentating and going into the details of the action. This video proves that an eloquent, knowledgeable athlete is probably the best commentator, in any sport.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing soon more videos like this one…

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Podium wide open ahead of Extreme Sailing Series Muscat final showdown

Posted on 22 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The punishing light winds and beating Arabian sun called for nerves of steel on the penultimate day’s racing of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, which saw a reshuffle of the pack and a shift in power on the leaderboard. Overnight leaders Alinghi managed to hold onto pole position and withstand the onslaught of pressure from the rest of the pack, but it couldn’t be closer at the top, with just 14 points between the top five boats – less than the difference of tomorrow’s final double points race. SAP Extreme Sailing Team did well to put themselves back in the game, heading into tomorrow’s final showdown in second place, but the team of the day was Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR, with three race wins for the Brits, who are now threatening the podium hard. Tomorrow’s final will come down to which team can withstand the pressure, and fans around the world can watch it live at a new time of 1500 local time/1100GMT/1200CET.

Alinghi marked their intent from the first start gun with a race win, but even the light wind specialists struggled for consistency in breeze of around five knots, and it looked like the tricky course may have finally got the better of the Swiss America’s Cup winners with a last place in race 16. Race 19 and the team turned it around, hitting the reset button and clawing back some valuable points, as helm Morgan Larson explained: “Things can come and go out there, you try and stick to the same objective and sometimes the wind doesn’t go your way or you get stuck in a tough spot. I think a lot of the other competitors that came out today had already figured it out, so we got caught up a little bit. You have to have the best day tomorrow, you can’t hold back.”

SAP Extreme Sailing Team played a steady game, keeping their heads cools and their concentration level, slowly chipping away at the points with consistent results throughout the day. A win in the final race elevated the team to second place, and their elated co-skipper and tactician Rasmus Kostner was thrilled with the comeback. “That was really close racing all day. We got some good starts, we got some good positions on the left hand side of the course – we are super happy. Four points (between them and Alinghi) is nothing, you can win or lose that in one race so it’s all on tomorrow. We just need to push on, get everything right – there’s no room for mistakes on a course like this.”

Ben Ainslie sits in fourth place at the Extreme Sailing Series event in Oman. Muscat, 21 March 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

The Kiwis on Emirates Team New Zealand, who were the fastest off the startline today according to the SAP analytics, are breathing down the necks of the Danish, just one point behind, but the legendary America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker knows the team have more to give. “It didn’t feel like a good day for us to be honest. I think we made a couple of silly mistakes. The day could have gone a lot better, and tomorrow is going to be a very busy day. Whoever sails reasonably smartly tomorrow will have a good chance of being successful. You just battle for every point in every race.”

The four-times Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie and his team on J.P. Morgan BAR hit accelerate today, and really applied the pressure, coming together as a team with all the right moves to take three race wins. The British team upgraded their overnight position from sixth to fourth, and their tactician and Olympic champion Paul ‘Goodie’ Goodison is ready for the final battle. “I’m pretty surprised we’re as close to the leaders as we are, but it’s really good. It means there’s still a lot to play for and if we keep improving like we have done the last three days we should be doing alright.” Reflecting on the day, he continued: “I think we had a good set plan before the start. We wanted to be the first boat out on port heading into what we thought was more pressure, and it seemed to work most of the time. Apart from that, when things didn’t go well, we did quite a good job of pulling back. I think a lot of that is where we’re still learning to sail the boat and becoming a bit more confident in our skills, which is starting to show up.”

Realteam were also able to upgrade their overall position today, from ninth to seventh, seeing more of the form we saw at Act 1 in Singapore, where the team took third place, as were Gazprom Team Russia, who took their first race win this year, elevating them from tenth to eighth. “We’re starting to sail better, our starts are better and we’re a bit more in the mix now. Everyone was pretty pleased to get the first bullet, but hopefully it’s the first of many,” commented their helm Paul Campbell-James.

The light winds punished some of the teams hard, including the defending champions and the home team The Wave, Muscat and Groupama sailing team. Neither team were able to put in the consistent performance that will be needed if they want to be stood on the podium tomorrow, but they did enough to keep themselves well in the game – The Wave, Muscat in fifth place on 118 points and Groupama sailing team in sixth with 105 – three points ahead of Realteam. Meet Leigh McMillan and The Wave, Muscat team here.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 3, 21 races (21.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 132 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 128 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 127 points.
4th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 122 points.
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 118 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 105 points.
7th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 102 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 99 points.
9th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 96 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 59 points.

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Alinghi rise through the ranks on the Muscat stadium racecourse

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] It may not have been high-speed racing on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, Oman, but it was as close as it gets, with the leaderboard reshuffling after every race. The fleet of 11 elite level teams used all of their tactical prowess to manoeuvre their Extreme 40s around the course, and after a short one lap shoot-out for the final race, the Swiss Alinghi took the lead, setting the scene for the business end of the event and the penultimate days racing tomorrow. The Swiss team’s tactician and Olympic champion Anna Tunnicliffe summed up the day. “Today the starts were quite important, occasionally you could come back from a bad start, but coming off the start line in the top three was huge. Our game plan is to keep it simple and not get involved in any awkward situations. The conditions are so tricky out there, you just have to take each race as it comes, analysing it and generally just stick to our plan.”

Alinghi handled the light wind stadium with equal skill as yesterday’s open water racing, where the reaching starts determined the finishes, and mistakes were punished hard. 9 of the 11-boat fleet were given an OCS throughout the day pushing their Extreme 40s hard to the start line, resulting in a restart, with only Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand keeping their noses clean. The Kiwi team’s skipper Dean Barker analysed their performance back on dock. “I think you always come off the water knowing a lot of the areas you can improve, but I generally think it’s working out how you can improve your averages across the day. You come off the water feeling pretty battered and bruised to be honest. It’s brutal sailing here – you try your best to be consistent but all you need is to have a tough race, or a tough break somewhere and it catches up. Overall we’re pretty pleased with how we’ve been doing 90% of the time, it’s just getting a little bit more consistent.” After two race wins today, the Kiwi team finish the day in third place.

Alinghi take the lead on the second day of the Oman Extreme Sailing Series event. Muscat, 20 March 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

The defending champions – of both the overall Series and of the Muscat Act – on The Wave, Muscat had their pre-start routine near-perfected from the first of today’s six races, starting the day with a win and rarely finishing out of the top three. The team, who started the day in fifth, sailed a smarter course and less distance than the rest of the fleet according to the SAP analytics, and have rolled up the leaderboard to second place, three points behind their 2013 rivals Alinghi.

The Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team led the fleet overnight, but unfortunately where some teams rise others will inevitably fall, and the Danish finished the day in fourth place – but well within touching distance of the top three, just five points behind Emirates Team New Zealand. Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team are a further 11 points behind the Danish, with everything to play for over the coming days.

J.P. Morgan BAR, a team that includes three Olympic champions, claimed three-second place finishes today, upgrading themselves from eighth to sixth place, as the British squad started to really get to grips with the stadium racecourse. The team’s headsail trimmer Pippa Wilson, a gold medallist from Beijing, was positive after racing. “It was a good day for us today. We had some really good starts, and then some really bad ones, but overall a really good and positive day for us. We worked well together as a team and it was really nice for us to be at the front of the fleet.”

Before racing, Red Bull Sailing Team’s double Olympic champion skipper Roman Hagara, spoke about the level of competition on the water, which he described as the “toughest racing you can do”. The leaderboard is incredibly close with Hagara’s team on 60 points in seventh place, just one point ahead of Oman Air – who are one point ahead of Realteam. The Swiss light wind specialists upped their game today, taking a win in the fifth race of the day, elevating them from 10th to ninth place. “It was great today, we sailed well. I think we like this style of racing in the stadium with lighter winds. We had some good starts and good pace at times. We tried to sail a simple game, finding wind on the right hand side of the course. Overall I’m really happy with today”, commented skipper Jérôme Clerc.

Gazprom Team Russia also took their best result of the event with a second place, as did the Aussie team on GAC Pindar, who were continually improving throughout the day. “It’s a really big learning curve for us at the moment, we’re enjoying it. It’s like we’re on this vertical learning spike, which is great,” commented the Aussie skipper Seve Jarvin. “We just want to keep improving, and today we just seemed to get better and better. We learnt a lot and there’s a lot of stuff we found out about these boats just from today’s racing which helped us a lot. So hopefully tomorrow we can just keep getting better!”

Before today’s racing, quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister and Oman’s Nashwa Al Kindi, arrived in Muscat, following an extraordinary journey from Mumbai, India, historically marking the first time the passage has been sailed by a severely paralysed woman and the first to be recorded by an Arab female sailor. The inspirational women spoke of their remarkable adventure, a story of incredible determination and passion.

The penultimate day’s racing in Muscat begins at 1400 local time, and the racing will be broadcast to sports fans around the world live from 1530 local time/1230CET, and to fans in Oman live on national broadcaster, Oman TV.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 2, 13 races (20.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 88 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 85 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 82 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 77 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 66 points.
6th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 63 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 60 points.
8th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 59 points.
9th Realteam (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 58 points.
10th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 57 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 33 points.

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SAP Extreme Sailing Team take early lead at Extreme Sailing Series regatta in Oman

Posted on 20 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The fleet of 11 elite level Extreme 40 catamarans headed onto the Muscat racecourse for the opening day of Act 2 of the global Extreme Sailing Series, in what it’s shaping up to be an unpredictable and close fought event, with five different winners over seven races. The Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team had the edge over the less consistent teams, but with only 16 points separating the top eight, there will be some tough competition tomorrow as the front runners try to establish a firm lead. “It’s going to be a long regatta and it’s only day one but we’re happy with our performance today and hopefully it can continue”, commented SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s co-skipper Jes Gram Hansen, who went on to talk about the key to success on this racecourse. “When you get ahead of the fleet it becomes easier, you have clean breeze and you’re actually just gaining and gaining. Tomorrow we just need to stay focused.”

SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Emirates Team New Zealand and The Wave, Muscat all came away with a win apiece, with Alinghi and Groupama sailing team taking two, keeping everyone guessing right up to the last race as to which team would finish the day on top. The fleet raced in open water, giving them the chance to stretch their sails under a brilliant Arabian sun, in a light breeze between 5-7 knots that played across the course, with each windward-leeward two-lap race lasting just over 15 minutes.

SAP take the early lead on the opening day. Muscat, 19 March 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Series Main Partners Land Rover today announced a new partnership with the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team, as the Official Team and Vehicle Partner, adding further gravitas to the premium British car company’s relationship in the sport of professional sailing. On the water, it was a frustrating end to the day for the Austrian boat, fronted by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, who were tied on points at the top of the leaderboard going into the final race. A tenth place in that race proved costly, and the team finish the day in sixth, showing just how quickly things can change on the racecourse. Skipper Hagara commented: “The teams will need to be more consistent tomorrow. You really need a good start out there, as it’s so difficult to get back in it when you start from the back. All the teams are very strong and that’s why we are very tight on points. No mistakes will be the plan for all teams!”

After a somewhat conservative start to the event for both four-times Olympic champion Ben Ainslie’s British team J.P. Morgan BAR, and Gazprom Team Russia, helmed by two-times Series winner Paul Campbell-James, the British helms began to master the racecourse, both securing finishes in the top three. Campbell-James summed up the day: “We had some good races and some bad races, unfortunately more bad races than good ones so it was a little frustrating. There’s a lot of positives we can take from today – our downwind speed was a lot better, our upwind speed felt pretty good and our crew work is improving every day. The most important thing tomorrow is that we will be back to reaching starts, which may provide a bit of variety as to who gets to the line first. We’re close to the shore with a good Omani crowd as enthusiastic as ever, so we’re looking forward to it!”

It was a testing day for Realteam, who were unable to continue riding on their wave of success following their third place in Singapore just three weeks ago, and also for GAC Pindar, who couldn’t emulate their recent 18-foot skiff success during the day’s racing, with the teams finishing tenth and eleventh respectively.

SAP take the early lead on the opening day. Muscat, 19 March 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

During this morning’s press conference, attended by national and international media, Alinghi’s helm for this Act Morgan Larson predicted, “this event will be a real test, and only the best team will rise to the top” and with three days of Stadium Racing still to come, it is anyone’s guess who will be crowned champions in Muscat.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 1, 7 races (19.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 48 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 45 points.
3rd Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 45 points.
4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 44 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 43 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 41 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 33 points.
8th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 32 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 25 points.
10th Realteam (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 22 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 16 points.

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Emirates Team New Zealand signs new sponsor for the Extreme Sailing Series

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] Britomart, Auckland’s leading commercial, retail and entertainment development, has joined with Emirates Team New Zealand for the Extreme Sailing Series.

The Extreme Sailing Series is a hotly contested, quick-fire regatta series, held close inshore at venues around the world. The 2014 series has eight regattas – the first held last month at Singapore and the second due to start this week at Muscat, Oman.

Britomart is a 6.5 hectare precinct of historic buildings, new developments and public spaces between Auckland’s waterfront and the CBD. The area has a rich history, as Auckland’s first mercantile centre. It is also home to one of the largest concentrations of heritage buildings in the city.

A neglected area of downtown in the 80s and 90s, Britomart, under the ownership of Cooper and Company, is a busy and diverse mix of restaurants, bars, boutiques and offices. The precinct continues to evolve, and there will soon be close to 200 businesses based at Britomart.

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton welcomed Britomart’s involvement with the team. “Britomart has transformed a formerly run-down part of central Auckland into an exciting destination. The team shares many of the company’s values and we have a common vision – achieving excellence in every area of operations.”

Emirates Team New Zealand training on the eve of the Oman regatta

“Britomart is incredibly proud to be supporting Emirates Team New Zealand at the Extreme Sailing Series,” said Cooper and Company’s Peter Cooper.

“The precinct is home to world leading New Zealand fashion designers, chefs, businesses and more, and it will be thrilling to watch Emirates Team New Zealand competing at the highest international level,” said Peter.

“We’ve spent 10 years revitalising a once derelict – now thriving – part of Auckland as a legacy for our city, and we’re hoping that Emirates Team New Zealand will also succeed on its world stage of sailing as a stepping stone to the next America’s Cup.”

Extreme 40 race courses are short and tight; races last only eight to 12 minutes and there can be as many as 10 races a day. With 12 teams racing 40ft catamarans, the action is fast and thrilling.

Emirates Team New Zealand contested the series in 2011. It was a valuable introduction to top-level multi-hull racing for a team of seasoned monohull sailors faced with an America’s Cup racing catamarans.

This year the team will again use the series as a method of keeping sailing crew sharp. Team members will be rotated throughout the series with Dean Barker and Peter Burling sharing helming duties.

Extreme 40 racing is unlike any other; the teams are very competitive, races are short, the action non-stop and split-second decisions are needed.

Racing takes place over four days at each event: one day of open water racing followed by three days of stadium racing. If the breeze is favourable eight to 10 races can be held each day

Remaining venues in the 2014 series are: Muscat, Oman (March 19-22), Qingdao (May 1-4), St Petersburg, Russia (June 26-29), Cardiff, Wales (August 22-25), Istanbul (September 11-14), The Mediterranean at a port to be announced (October 2-5), Sydney (Dec 11-14).

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Extreme Sailing Series announces 26% increase in global media figures as 2015-2020 Host Venue bid process commences

Posted on 17 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Leading independent evaluation agency, Havas Sports & Entertainment Ignition, has confirmed an increase in global media exposure for the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ for the seventh consecutive year of elite level Stadium Racing, with a final 2013 media value of over €35 million. The figure, calculated using the same methodology each year, represents a 26% increase on 2012 figures, in what was a significant year for the Series on all levels, including the addition of Land Rover as Series Main Partner to the ever growing family of commercial partners – with a second partner being actively sought to sit at the same level as the premium British car brand.

The confirmation comes at an ideal time for prospective Host Venues, as the Tender and Selection process for cities interested in hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act from 2015-2020 is now open. While the media value is fundamental to underpin the significant and continually growing return to the sponsors, teams and event partners, it does not, on its own, provide a complete reflection of sponsorship value of the pioneering Stadium Racing global tour, which includes the premium B2B ‘money can’t buy’ VIP experience, the association with sailing’s aspirational values of innovation, perfectionism, technology and team work, the appeal of the stadium format as a public event and a sporting event delivered on an annual and global scale in traditional and emerging sailing markets.

Leading evaluation agency, Havas Sports & Entertainment Ignition has evaluated the media value for the Extreme Sailing Series since 2009 using the same consistent methodology, providing a true reflection of the media growth of the event – regardless of different approaches in the sports industry to actual evaluation. They apply a conservative 10% uplift for unmonitored coverage, to account for the inevitable coverage that is missed outside of the monitoring periods around each Act. Due to cost, the monitoring process is restricted to limited periods and only in countries where the Acts are staged: TV is only monitored for the week of the event (excluding the seven-part TV series) and print media for one month over the course of the event; only online media is monitored year-round.

2013 saw the addition of Land Rover as Series Main Partner to the ever growing family of commercial partners

TV coverage, including the official seven-part TV series, news and dedicated programming, continues to provide the lion’s share of coverage, with an impressive 70% increase in value compared to 2012. The TV series (valued at over €7.8million), set a benchmark in global broadcast distribution in 2013, with 54 channels, versus 41 in 2012, around the globe broadcasting the Series, making it the most widely distributed annual sailing TV series in the world, according to leading TV production company Sunset+Vine|APP.

Gavin Peters, Head of Insight at Havas Sports & Entertainment Ignition attributes the significant increase in TV media value to improved distribution and more high-worth coverage, across all levels of TV output. “For the fourth year in succession (since Havas has been evaluating the media coverage of the Series), we’ve seen a rise in the value of media coverage delivered by the Extreme Sailing Series, to over €35m in 2013, highlighting its worldwide appeal. Much of this increased value comes from dedicated television programming, and the truly global nature of the event is highlighted by the fact that the top 10 countries in terms of value delivery came from across Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. The nature and quality of the media coverage, covering significant traditional and digital media coverage, demonstrates the significant reach of the event to sponsors, host venues and teams.”

Print media has seen an growth in the number of articles published, with 809 articles in 2013, versus 734 in 2012, and the Series has also seen an significant surge in the value of its online coverage, now valued at almost €2.8million, a 53% increase on 2012. Aside from the evaluated media coverage, the Extreme Sailing Series also saw a significant rise in their online fan base, with a 50% increase in Facebook fans and a 100% increase in Twitter followers, with early signs in 2014 already seeing a significant growth in this area.

While the Series, as expected, received prominent coverage in each of the seven international territories it visited in 2013, it has significantly continued to grow its footprint in regions of interest to its partners outside of those currently visited by the global tour. The USA which, after China and France, was ranked third by territory in terms of value, while key European countries including Germany, where also highly ranked.

OC Sport is now officially inviting cities around the world to bid to host an official Act of the award-winning international Stadium Racing global tour, with the tender process for 2015-2020 open. François Vergnol, Commercial Director for the Series commented on the continued, and ever-growing, appeal of the Series. “These figures come at a very interesting time as our new tender process has been launched, highlighting the value we deliver to host venues not only through media figures but also through the tangible economic impact to the cities we visit. In 2013, by hosting the UK leg of the global Stadium Racing tour in Cardiff Bay, Wales, the Extreme Sailing Series injected approximately £1.9m (as confirmed by the Welsh Assembly Government) into the Welsh economy over the August Bank Holiday weekend, with 120,000 spectators in attendance at the event.” Vergnol continued, “In 2013, we also welcomed iconic British brand Land Rover to the Series, providing a high qualitative impact to the circuit, and in doing so growing our family of high-level sponsors including technical partners SAP, official timekeepers EDOX, logistics partners GAC Pindar and clothing supplier Marinepool, providing exceptional value to our venues.”

The innovative Stadium Racing circuit brings action close to the shores of iconic cities around the world, providing an exclusive package for Host Venues including a premium VIP experience, unique spectator opportunities which goes beyond sailing fans, and high-integrity elite level sporting competition not only to local audiences but global media. Six venues confirmed for the 2014 Series will return in 2015, with two venues whose contracts are due to expire, expressing their desire for the circuit to return, but creating a window of opportunity for new venues to replace them and join the Series from next year onwards.

Specific criteria is evaluated throughout the Host Venue selection process, and at the forefront, is a venue that can offer a stadium-style location situated within an ‘iconic’ city, ensuring the concept at the core of the Series remains. In addition, the venue must be able to deliver a sporting event of the highest integrity, ensuring fair racing for the elite level teams who compete. The venue must have city and regional support related to the financial and operational aspects of the event, local promotion and entertainment, and must be a city in a market of commercial interest to our global partners. The ability to attract tens of thousands of spectators and of course, some great wind, is also high on the criteria list.

The closing date for the tender process is 25 April 2014, by 30 April a shortlist will be drawn and final confirmations made by June, ahead of announcing publicly the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series™ circuit dates and venues in September. To express interest and receive the full Host Venue Tender documentation, email susie.walker@ocsport.com

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Extreme Sailing Series heads to the Middle East for Act 2, Muscat

Posted on 14 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series]  With just one week to go on the EDOX countdown clock before the action continues on the Extreme 40 stadium racecourse, the 11 international teams and their crews of elite level sailors, are preparing to return to the Sultanate of Oman for a fourth consecutive year. The fleet will race at a stunning new venue, the Almouj Golf Course at The Wave, Muscat, from 19th March, for four days of intense competition, under the warmth of the Arabian sun on the home turf of the two Oman Sail entries, Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat.

The 11 international teams dispersed after the opening Act in Singapore, and their carbon-fibre catamarans were shipped from the Far East to the Middle East, transported by Logistics Partner GAC Pindar. The teams have used the short break to analyse their Act 1 performances, and one man hoping to improve on his team’s fifth place in Singapore is Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama sailing team. “We work with our coach Thierry Péponnet who analyses each of the races and this allows us to improve at every level including starts, mark rounding and manoeuvres. We also use the analytics provided by SAP. It is very interesting because this allows us to learn more about our competitors and about ourselves. The level of competition is high but we are in the game too, even though we recognise we need to progress if we want to be in the position to win.” Fans can follow the racing during Act 2 Muscat, through SAP’s sailing analytics including dynamic leaderboards.

The Australian team on GAC Pindar have been riding on the crest of a wave since their Extreme 40 debut in Singapore, with the Team Australia announcement of a home-grown crew as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, including GAC Pindar’s Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Troy Tindill and Ed Smyth. The Act in Singapore was a baptism of fire for the Australian team, and Jarvin, who last weekend won the his sixth JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff championship title, effectively the world championship for the class, alongside Newton, acknowledged they have a steep learning curve ahead. “The racing was super tough in Singapore. We struggled with starting and on those short courses starting is critical. Consistency is the key we were probably pushing the boundaries in a lot of areas. I think we could have been a lot more conservative.” David Gilmour, son of Australian sailing legend Peter Gilmour who is also the youngest skipper to hold a card for the Alpari World match racing tour, will join GAC Pindar in Muscat for his Stadium Racing debut.

Alinghi dominates the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 23 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

The line up at the top of the leaderboard comes as no surprise after the shakedown of Act 1, with three of the most experienced teams staking an early claim. One new entry for 2014 hoping to topple the old order is Emirates team New Zealand, who lost out on a podium position in Singapore by the smallest of margins in the final race. The team’s Australian mainsail trimmer, Glenn Ashby, whose enviable CV includes 14 World Championship titles across three multihull classes, as well as a silver medal in the Tornado class from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, assessed the team’s performance. “As a whole, we felt that we sailed a mostly consistent event in Singapore and were in touch with the top three positions from the start of the regatta. This was nice considering our three-year absence from the Extreme 40 circuit.” Looking ahead to Muscat, Ashby continued: “Obviously the teams that have been putting the effort in the pre-season are shining and sailing very well. This makes it a great challenge and the racing IS very tough which is exactly what we want – tough racing, be put in tough positions and have to work extremely hard around the track for good results. Consistency will be the key factor in success at Muscat. The sailing last time we were in Muscat in 2011 was fantastic and we are really looking forward to getting back there for some great racing. Our expectations are high for a great result and make the podium.”

Historically, the home grown Omani teams have triumphed on their native soil, with The Wave, Muscat taking victory at the Muscat Act in 2013, and Oman Air clinching the win in 2012, then skippered by Morgan Larson. One team in particular that are determined to upset the local’s historic winning streak is Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss-flagged Alinghi. The Act 1 winners will be riding on a high, following their resounding victory at the 2014 curtain raiser in Singapore. Morgan Larson will remain in the driving seat as acting skipper, and the America’s Cup winning team will welcome the return of Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe as tactician – a position she frequented in 2013. A two-times ISAF World Sailor of the year, Tunnicliffe commented: “I’m very excited to be back. The racing I saw in Singapore looked intense! The calibre of sailing talent is some of the best in the world and I look forward to being there.”

Other significant crew changes include Kiwi Stewart Dodson, runner up in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup who last year sailed with GAC Pindar, and who now joins Red Bull Sailing Team, whilst Realteam will continue their squad rotation programme bringing in Bryan Mettraux as headsail trimmer.

SAP Extreme Sailing Team came away from Act 1 disappointed after being unable to turn their pre-season training into a result on the water finishing tenth, in what co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen described as “one of the most mentally challenging racecourses in the world”, but the team is determined to put things right in Muscat. “We know where we should be ranked and aim to climb back into position in Oman. Now we are back in Europe and preparing for the next event. We are determined to shake off the mental stress of ever changing conditions in Marina Bay, Singapore, and fight back in Muscat and move up the leaderboard.” Read more from Gram-Hansen, here. Three other teams hoping to take some key learnings away from the Singapore Act and turn them into results in Muscat are J.P. Morgan BAR, Gazprom Team Russia and Oman Air who finished seventh to ninth respectively.

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Resounding victory for Alinghi after an action-packed week on the Singapore Stadium Racecourse

Posted on 23 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series]  The opening Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ more than lived up to all the pre-season hype and expectation, where the new teams got stuck in on the Singapore stadium racecourse – but couldn’t quite topple the old order – with three returning teams from 2013 taking honours. An estimated 30,000 spectators watched over four days, as Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss team Alinghi sailed a near perfect regatta, with Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre Yves Jorand, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey, finishing more than 50% of the 29 races in the top three. The team had the Act wrapped up before the final double-points race – a feat rarely seen on the circuit. “We couldn’t have dreamed for a better start,” commented an ecstatic Larson after racing. “It was challenging here and with the level of competition a couple of notches higher this season, I think we just carried on from last year and we’re the only team that hasn’t changed any of our crew. We will try and build on from last year and enjoy this victory!”

The outcome of who would be stood to the left and right of the Swiss team on the podium was not so clear-cut, with Emirates Team New Zealand, The Wave, Muscat and Realstone all vying for glory. The Kiwi’s came flying off the start line in the final race, but it all went wrong for Dean Barker and his team shortly after that, and a penalty in the first beat for a port-starboard incident against The Wave, Muscat, lost them not only second place to the Omani boat, but third place to the Swiss. Barker commented: “It’s the first time we have raced together in five months, and our first time back on the circuit since 2011, and for sure we wanted to get a podium here, but couldn’t get away with it. We’re still rusty and have to focus our thoughts, but we’ll get there. We definitely had a great time here in Singapore.”

Alinghi dominates the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 23 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

The reigning champions on The Wave, Muscat have a new line-up this year, including double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton – one of five women competing in Singapore. Skipper Leigh McMillan, who has been a dominate force in the Extreme 40 class for the last two years, looked ahead to what is shaping up to be a fantastic year of competition. “I think it’s great that we are proving the quality of the fleet for the last two years and how competitive it has been. But by no means do we think it will remain that way and we are going to have a lot on our hands in the upcoming events. We are just delighted to finish in second place and kick off the season with a great result.”

The Swiss team Realstone led the regatta after day one, and even missing a days racing after a collision earlier in the week couldn’t stop Jerome Clerc and his men, with a third place in the final race enough to clinch third place overall. “This is our best result since our debut in the Extreme 40 Racing. It wasn’t easy at all and we have been through every emotion this week but we have finished really strongly. It proves that we are working in the right direction, although there are obvious improvements we can make – well done to Alinghi who just dominated over the event.”

While the regatta in Singapore may have gone to the old-guard, the new teams pushed them the whole way, with eight of the 12 boat fleet sailing to race victories over the course of the last four days. While some of the new faces struggled for consistency, they all showed moments of winning brilliance, and the battle mid-leaderboard was fierce, with Groupama sailing team and their multihull expert skipper Franck Cammas, who last competed in the Series in 2010, clinching fifth place from the experienced hands on Red Bull Sailing, by just four points. Ben Ainslie’s team, J.P. Morgan BAR, which includes some of the UK’s top sailing talent, finished the regatta on a high, winning the final double-pointer to bring the Act home in seventh place. Eighth and ninth went to two previous Series winning helms, who finish the Act tied on points – Gazprom Team Russia, with two-times Series winner Paul Campbell-James on the tiller and Russian Igor Lisovenko as skipper, and winner of the inaugural Series, Rob Greenhalgh, with his team Oman Air. The Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team brought home the event in tenth place.

Alinghi dominates the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. Singapore, 23 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

The local boat Team Aberdeen Singapore, supported by Host Venue Partner Aberdeen Asset Management, made an extraordinary comeback after yesterdays’ huge crash with Groupama sailing team, to be back on the racetrack today, and even upgraded their position on the overall standings to eleventh place ahead of GAC Pindar. Skipper Moloney summed up the atmosphere, and the feeling amongst the fleet this week. “We’ve had an amazing and spectacular time in Singapore. This venue is the encompassment of the stadium format – wind, bumps and scrapes. It’s amazing for spectators and really difficult to sail with all the wind shifts around the buildings. No spot in the world lets us sail like this. For the sailors it was completely full on.”

The Act in Singapore will be remembered as one of the most action packed Acts in the eight-year history of the elite level Stadium Racing circuit. The next stop is Muscat, Oman – in just over three weeks time.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 4, 29 races (23.02.14)

1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 217 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 193 points.
3rd Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sebastien Stephant 178 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 168 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Pierre Leclainche, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 160 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 156 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 152 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 128 points.
9th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 128 points.
10th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 126 points.
11th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 82 points.
12th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 59 points.

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