by Julie Royer
For the BT Extreme 40 this is it - the final round of the iShares Cup - and the BT crew will be gunning for a place on the podium starting today (Friday, 19th September) and concluding on Sunday, 21 September.
BT Extreme 40
The BT crew are currently 3rd overall going into the ultimate event with America's Cup teams Alinghi and TEAMORIGIN holding a joint lead at the top of the table. Skipper Nick Moloney and crew hold a slim 2-point lead ahead of Dutch team Holmatro. And only 6 points separate 5 teams who are all in contention for the third spot on the podium for the overall iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series 2008.
There is a change of helm for BT here in Amsterdam, as top Australian catamaran sailor Darren Bundock steps in for Andrew Walsh. Darren helmed the BT boat at last year's finale in Amsterdam, so is experienced at sailing the powerful Extreme 40s in the ultra-small IJ-Haven racecourse.
From Nick Moloney, skipper, BT Extreme 40:'Darren steered the boat in Amsterdam last time so there's two of us now who have done this event which is 50 per cent of the team, so that's important to us. It's a very tricky place to race and we were fortunate that we had a really good regatta here last year when we got third place and that got us third overall for the series.
'I'm a little nervous because I feel like potentially we have everything to lose really! It's strange but we are currently where we want to be in the overall placings and if we can hold onto third place by the end of this weekend then we will be blown away. As the level in the fleet has increased with two America's Cup teams ahead of us and considering that we all only sailed together for the first time together in our lives in May this year, if we get on the podium for us it will be a win. The objective is clear and we are very focused - it all comes down to Amsterdam, right here, right now!
From Darren Bundock, helm, BT Extreme 40: The Aussie Darren Bundock, who won an Olympic silver medal in the Tornado Class with Glenn Ashby at the Beijing Games, will be driving the BT Extreme 40.
'What a great opportunity for me coming straight from the Olympics and joining the BT Extreme 40 team for the finale of the iShares Cup on the confined IJ-Haven canal in the heart of Amsterdam.
'Nick has the team fired up for an overall podium finish and Walshy (aka Andrew Walsh) has handed over the helm with the team in an ideal situation to achieve this. I love sailing these high-speed 40-foot catamarans spearing around the canal and this year's iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series is where it is all happening.
'The who's who of sailing are on Extreme 40's at the moment. The level has lifted with the America's Cup teams joining the circuit and spectator levels have sky-rocketed with all the guys pushing the boats to the limits and capsizes and crashes are just part of the racing. Great stuff!'
Current standings ahead of the final iShares Cup event:
1st Alinghi, 36 points
2nd TEAM ORIGIN, 36 points
3rd BT, 25 points
4th Holmatro, 23 points
5th Oman Sail, 21 poiints
6th JPMorgan Asset Management, 20 points
7th Team Aqua, 19 points
8th iShares, 16 points
9th Volvo Ocean Race, 15 points
10th Tommy Hilfiger, 7 points
For latest information about the iShares Cup, go to http://www.iSharesCup.com