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An 11-Month, 9 Event Global Circuit
The Extreme Sailing Series today 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. .
"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.
The 2011 global circuit, which kicks off in Muscat in February 2011 and concludes in Singapore in December, is entering a new phase of development as part of a five year vision, after a challenging but successful 2010. Turner explains, "iShares was acquired by BlackRock at the end of 2009, which meant an end to the founding partnership of the event. We committed to running a test event in Asia and what was another successful European season in 2010 without a main partner. That was a big investment for our OC ThirdPole business, but one we believed in," said Turner.
"Going forward we now have some meaningful host venue partnerships, strong teams, and a long term business plan with funding in place which will allow us to continue to develop the Extreme Sailing Series across all areas over the next five years - on the water, the shore-side public entertainment package and the media platforms," he promised.
In addition to the host venue partnerships, and local sponsors for each event, OMEGA returns as Official Timekeeper, Marinepool join as Official Technical Clothing Supplier, and Pol Roger as the Official Champagne Supplier for the series. Further partners at both series and local level to be announced in the New Year.
2011 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1: 22-24 February, Muscat, Oman (20-21 '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.)
*initial entry period closed today, 13 December, however late entries may be permitted under the Notice of Race, up to a maximum of 11 boats, plus three wildcards for use by the organisation. The annual objective of Extreme Sailing Series™ is 8 quality teams.
* Team GAC Pindar, today announced its entry in the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series, which will be skippered by Ian Williams.
Team GAC Pindar, which entered two events on the 2010 circuit in Sète and Cowes has committed to the full 2011 season. The partnership combines Team Pindar's 30-year sailing involvement with Dubai-based global logistics provider, GAC.
Team Principal of Team GAC Pindar, Andrew Pindar commented: "We've been fortunate enough to experience winning the World Match Racing Tour twice with Ian at helm - he is a tremendous talent and this entry marks an exciting new challenge for both him and the team. We are delighted to be partnering again with GAC, as they look to sailing to help gain further global exposure and expand their shipping, logistics and marine services around the world."
Phuket King's Cup: A Wild Last Day
Those winners are Ray Roberts' Evolution Racing, Matt Allen's Ichi Ban, Peter Dyer's Team Sea Bees, Peter Sorensen's Baby Tonga, Ilya Ermakov's Sarawadee, Paul Brunning's Dondang Sayang, Richard Macfarlane's Aida, Jean Rheault's Souay 1, Hans Rahmann's Voodoo and David Liddell's Miss Saigon.
The cup attracted 107 yachts representing 16 nations across the 10 classes. Mixed among the competitors were sailors of all levels from club weekend racers to America's Cup, Olympic and world champion sailors.
In the Racing Class, which included five TP52s, the final results saw just one point difference between Evolution Racing and HiFi.
In IRC2 Team Sea Bees and Royal Thai Navy 1 also came down the wire with one point separating these two exceptionally competitive teams.
The traditional light air King's Cup conditions returned, at least until the last few hours on the last day of the series. The IRC2 and Multihull class entrants had to change gears quickly for some fast, furious racing while the cruiser/racer fleet leaders turned around to see their fellow class members quickly closing the gap as they bought the breeze with them.
Unfortunately the light winds of the series disappeared for the last day of the regatta, replaced by 20 knots plus westerly and a huge swell battering the fleet as they sat at anchor off Kata Beach. Racing was cancelled for the day as the yacht rescue mission commenced in earnest.
Race committee member, former Regatta Chairman and a competitor in 24 King's Cups, Chris King, reflected on the last regatta-day drama. 'Our Regatta Director, Simon James, has worked exceptionally hard since 3am, when the storm first blew up, trying to get all the resources we could to try and help these boats off the beach. The perception among a lot of sailors is that we haven't done anything. The fact is we haven't succeeded in doing what needed to be done, but it is not from want of trying. All the resources we've got, all the resources of the Navy and many of the bigger boats that are out there on the water that have the horsepower to help have been roped in.
'It is absolutely an abnormal situation. I live in Thailand and have been here for 40 years. I have spent a lot of time in Phuket and a lot of time on the water (here). This time of year, I have never, ever, seen anything like this. This is December. The wind is supposed to be blowing from completely the opposite direction.'
The introduction of the much anticipated combined fleet racing for the IRC and Multihull Challenge trophies, scheduled as the concluding event of the regatta, was cancelled due to the wild conditions of the last day.
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Pete Melvin at "Cupdate"
"We got a call in June asking us to start developing a rule for a multihull," Melvin explained. "We're the leaders of the group, but we had consultants from all over the world. BMWOR didn't want just one person creating this rule; they wanted world-class input from everybody. We spent four months creating this rule and a lot of things changed along the way. For example, in a meeting back in May, when we were working in the initial study, we focused on a trimaran, as they are more forgiving and easy to sail and more high performance for the dollar. But there was a desire to have the boats easily shippable via air, and catamarans are more easily disassembled to go on a plane. Also, they wanted a wing instead of soft sails.
"So we spent more time on the technical side, sizing the boat, how big the rig should be. The desire was to be able to sail a race from three to 33 knots (wiggled down to five to 30) so we came up with a wing sail catamaran, with soft sails for downwind sailing. Carrying 11 crew members, it will do about three times true wind speed.
"The rule is a box rule -- maximum length of 22 meters, 14 meters wide, and some sail area max areas, with minimum and maximum weight limits and it has to be a catamaran -- but everything else is pretty much open."
Full interview by Diane Swintal on CupInfo.com:
Calling Gold Roman Bowl Winners
Everyone involved in hosting the Race is gearing up to make this 80th Anniversary event a truly memorable occasion for all involved. Much of the promotional activity for the 2011 Race will focus on competitor stories, anecdotes and images from each of the past eight decades with more plans to be announced in the New Year.
To mark this historic milestone, organisers are calling on all former Gold Roman Bowl winners, competitors and spectators to submit their Race memories. This could be a particularly amusing or nail biting moment, a beautiful photograph, video footage or the tale of a personal triumph.
There's one free entry available for the best image
The Club is offering one free entry into the 2011 Race for a favourite image, whilst a bottle of Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky is on offer to the entrant with the best race anecdote. The winners will be selected by a panel including the Club's Admiral, Robin Aisher, himself a Gold Roman Bowl winner in 1985 aboard Yeoman XXV. The chosen image will be used in part of the 80th year celebrations and Robin Aisher supports this rally cry wholeheartedly, commenting: "This Race has produced some truly iconic imagery over the years and we are hoping to unearth a real gem."
The closing date for submissions is 28th February 2011.
Iker and Xabi Ready for the Barcelona World Race
The pair of Movistar skippers have now been in the city of Barcelona for four days, but their preparation began nine months ago at the team's offshore sailing base in the north of Spain, at Sanxenxo (Pontevedra, Galicia). The IMOCA Open 60 "Mapfre" has been put through her paces and has undergone extreme sailing and safety tests, as well as tests to the onboard electronics and a refit in many of the appendages (keel, daggerboards and rudders) not to mention a new mast and rigging.
The IMOCA Open 60 "Mapfre" is on dry land right now, at the race organiser's offshore sailing base in Barcelona, where she is undergoing final touches to the keel and bulb before getting back on the water on Wednesday 15th December, ready for the final pre-race training sessions.
Sail Faster And Smarter!
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ISAF Major Oceanic Event Organizers Meeting in Estoril
There will be representatives from ISAF oceanic classes such as the IMOCA Open 60s and the Class 40. Events represented in the group include the Volvo Ocean Race, Velux 5 Oceans, La Route du Rhum - La Banque Postale, Barcelona World, The Transat and Vendee Globe races.
The meeting is arranged to discuss the rolling four year calendar of major oceanic events, updates on future events or classes, communication, safety and other matters relating to ISAF and the international sport of sailing in oceanic events.
The meeting is chaired by the ISAF Oceanic and Offshore Committee Chairman, Jacques Lehn and includes other representatives from ISAF and sailors with much experience in oceanic racing such as Mike Golding, Alain Gautier and Pierre Fehlmann.
The meeting is to take place prior to the World Yacht Race Forum in Estoril that is held from the 14 to 16 December, for more information see www.worldyachtracingforum.com where ISAF will also be represented by Secretary General, Jerome Pels, and Head of Technical and Offshore, Jason Smithwick.
Third World Yacht Racing Forum
Some of the international yacht racing industry's key issues will be debated over the next two days and the expectations are rising amongst the numerous delegates. This year's hot issues include the future of international yacht racing from a commercial perspective. How can sailing compete for sponsorship against mainstream sports? What is the future for sailing's premier events? How can sailing events create brand partnerships? Those are some of the many questions that will be debated by the a panel of experts over the next two days.
The speakers include well known names such as James Spithill, Loick Peyron, Knut Frostad, Mark Turner, as well as speakers and panellists from outside of the sport who will share their views on ways in which sailing and yacht racing can learn from other major global disciplines.
The future of some of the sport's iconic events will also be debated with a session focusing on the next Olympic Games and our sport's sustainability as an Olympic discipline, followed by a debate on the new America's Cup format and the repercussions it will have on international yacht racing.
Besides the official sessions, the World Yacht Racing Forum will once again offer unparalleled networking opportunities and a unique possibility to meet representatives from other disciplines in an informal way, to discuss, debate and sometimes even negotiate the sport's future.
Details of the conference programme and speakers are available on the event's website: www.worldyachtracingforum.com
* From Scott MacLeod: One of the truly unsung heroes of our sport died this past weekend. B.W. Jordy Walker passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer. If there is anyone who epitomized "giving back " to the sport it was Jordy. In his quiet, behind the scene style he was instrumental in most of the sailing activity in Bermuda, but more importantly, he was truly one of the Fathers of the sport of match racing and its growth around the world. Jordy was one of the five founding members of the World Match Racing Association in 1988 and helped create and start the World Match Racing Championships in that same year. He was President of the World Match Racing Association twice and oversaw tremendous growth and change in the sport,
I was privileged to meet Jordy by chance in 1988, where we discussed an idea of taking the King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda to the next level, making it one of the top trophy's and events in the sport by bringing in top prize money, television on ESPN, sponsors and spectators to Hamilton Harbour. He put his own money behind the plan with an interest free loan to the club, and me, to create this event. He also took a lot of flak from people who thought that racing the event in Hamilton Harbour close to shoreside spectators wasn't "proper yachting". However, the event was a great success, offering top prize money to the best sailors in the world and with great sponsors like Omega, Brut, Renaissance Reinsurance, Colorcraft, and ACE Group to name a few. More importantly the Gold Cup became the gateway for the up and coming sailor to get on to the circuit and make a name for themselves through the innovative format. Names like Baird, Holmberg, Gilmour, Coutts and Spithill all came through this event to go on to greater achievements within the sport.
More importantly, he did this all as a volunteer. He wasn't paid to travel around the world to these meetings, he never asked for anything, motivated only by what he thought it would bring to future generations of sailors around the world. Match racing would not be where it is today without the tireless and unsung work of Jordy Walker. Most, if not all, of the top professional sailors who made their way through the match racing system and specifically the Gold Cup in Bermuda, owe a huge amount of gratitude to this person who, with tremendous class and grace, quietly gave of himself back to the sport. He will be greatly missed.
Design M Lombard refitted in 2007 by J Kouyoumdjian.
The Last Word
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