Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series is set to begin in a week with the fleet of 12 Extreme 40s, including home nation entry ‘Team Extreme Qingdao’ set to line up on one of the most notorious stadium racecourses on the global tour, for the ‘Double Star Mingren’ Cup, 1-4 May.
The Wave, Muscat won the Chinese Act in 2013, and will look to do the same in Fushan Bay next week.
China’s host city for the 2008 Olympic sailing regatta’s holds plenty of proud memories for the fleet, with Brits Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Sarah Ayton and Ben Ainslie, and American Anna Tunnicliffe, all taking gold in their respective classes. For Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, the Act in Qingdao will be the first time he has raced on the Olympic waters since winning the Finn gold in 2008. The J.P. Morgan BAR skipper commented: 'We are all really looking forward to China. For Paul, Pippa and I who spent a lot of time there before and during Beijing 2008 it’s a special place for us. But we know that it is another difficult venue and there’s a lot of tide there so that could be challenging and tough but we certainly want to work on our performance as a team.'
GAC Pindar, which is supported by the Australian Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, Team Australia, will make a significant crew change, as match racing specialist David Gilmour takes the reigns from Seve Jarvin. The team will also welcome back 18-foot skiff champion Alexandra South, as Iain Murray, CEO of Team Australia, explained: 'During the Extreme Sailing Series it’s likely everyone in GAC Pindar / Team Australia will be rotated. This certainly won’t be the last change during the Series, as we want to expose the crew to different combinations, team cultures and structure. Australia is fortunate enough to have a lot of talented young sailors and we want to give them an opportunity to sail during this regatta. Alex South is also returning for Act 4 and Seve Jarvin will be back to sail in Acts to follow.'
Act 1, Singapore 2014 - Day 3 - Emirates Team New Zealand
Emirates Team New Zealand will also have a new face at the helm, as Peter Burling, former skipper of Team Korea, takes the tiller from Dean Barker. Burling and his London 2012 Olympic silver medal winning crew Blair Tuke took 49er gold at the Princesa Sofia Regatta three weeks ago, and the pair are currently competing at the ISAF World Cup Final in Hyères, France. Burling explained how the duo are balancing their 49er Olympic campaign alongside Emirates Team New Zealand commitments, and elaborated on the crew changes onboard the Kiwi Extreme 40. 'The team (ETNZ) has a lot of great sailors and there are only four of those on the Extreme 40 so we need to swap it through the year to give everyone some time to up their skills. For me, it has been a really great that the team has been able to split the events so we can all do a lot of different types of sailing this year. I am really looking forward to doing my bit to try and get the team up the rankings.'
Another duo that will arrive in Qingdao fresh from competing in Hyères is Groupama sailing team’s Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim. The French team is currently in fifth place on the overall Series leaderboard, tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team and Gazprom Team Russia, and two Acts in, skipper Cammas feels the team are on the right track. 'We still need to improve a few elements on the boat handling but we are progressing in the right direction. We are competing in the Extreme Sailing Series to race at the highest level and we are not disappointed.'
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. From right to left SAP, Groupama, Gazprom, JP Morgan and The Wave Muscat
One team that is sure to have fire in their bellies after so narrowly missing out on the podium in Muscat in the final race is SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Co-skipper and match racing expert Ramus Kostner commented: 'The regatta in Oman was great for our team. We worked our way back in the game with a solid performance throughout the week and in the deciding race it was down to small details. We are on the right track and that is a great motivation going into Act 3 in China. It is a close as we expected it to be with so many good teams on the Series.'
The two Acts raced so far this year have produced two different winners, with the Swiss Alinghi sailing to a resounding victory in Singapore, before defending champions The Wave, Muscat clinched victory on their home waters in Muscat, Oman after a four-way shoot out in the final race, taking the overall Series lead with it. The Swiss are just a point adrift (18 points), with Emirates Team New Zealand in third (16 points), and Realteam in fourth, (13 points).
Series organiser OC Sport has also confirmed multinational financial services corporation Visa, the world’s leading payment technology company, will be supporting the Act, as Official Payment Service Partner. The Series presents a unique and exclusive hospitality platform to the global titan, that includes a unique and consummate VIP guest experience, not least the opportunity for their key clients to race as a ‘Guest Sailor’ alongside some of the world’s best sailors at this high-integrity sporting event.
Thousands are expected to watch the Extreme 40s in action from the free public Race Village in Fushan Bay over the three days of public Stadium Racing, while the nation’s top media including CCTV 5, Titan Sports Weekly, Outdoor Gears, China Yachting, Xinhua and Sohu.com are already registered to join the fleet on the official media day, hosted by local partners, Qingdao Organising Association.
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat.
Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act3. Qingdao. China.
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 1. Singapore. J.P. MORGAN BAR. Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR),Nick Hutton (GBR),Paul Goodison (GBR),Pippa Wilson (GBR), Matt Cornwell (GBR)
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 1. Singapore.
Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act3. Qingdao
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. GAC Pindar, Bowman, David Gilmour, Sam Newton, Headsail Trimmer, Ed Smyth, Mainsail Trimmer, Troy Tindill, Skipper, Seve Jarvin Credit - Lloyd Images
Land Rover Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 3 Qingdao for the ‘Double Star Mingren’ Cup crew lists:
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)
Tactician: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
Mainsail Trim: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Headsail Trim: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Peter Burling (NZL)
Floater: Edwin Delaat (NZL)
Mainsail Trim: Glenn Ashby (AUS)
Headsail Trim: Blair Tuke (NZL)
Bowman: Jeremy Lomas (NZL)
GAC Pindar (AUS)
Skipper/Helm: David Gilmour (AUS)
Mainsail Trim: Sam Newton (AUS)
Headsail Trim: Troy Tindill (AUS)
Bow: Ed Smyth (AUS)/Alexandra South (AUS)
Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: Alister Richardson (GBR)
Headsail Trim: Pete Cumming (GBR)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)
Groupama sailing team (FRA)
Skipper/Helm: Franck Cammas (FRA)
Tactician: Sophie de Turckheim (FRA)
Mainsail Trim: Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Headsail Trim: Thierry Fouchier (FRA)
Bowman: Devan Le Bihan (FRA)
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
Skipper/Helm: Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Tactician: Nick Hutton (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: Paul Goodison (GBR)
Headsail Trim: Pippa Wilson (GBR)
Bowman: Matt Cornwell (GBR)
Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: TBA
Headsail Trim: Tom Johnson (AUS)
Bowmen: Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA)/Musab Al Hadi (OMA)
Skipper/Mainsail Trim: Jérôme Clerc (SUI)
Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Denis Girardet (SUI)
Headsail Trim: Bryan Mettraux (SUI)
Bowman: Thierry Wasem (SUI)
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Floater: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Headsail Trim: Mark Bulkeley (GBR)
Bowman: Nick Blackman (NZL)
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Mainsail Trim: Thierry Douillard (FRA)
Headsail Trim: Peter Wibroe (DEN)
Bowman: Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
Team Extreme Qingdao (CHN)
Skipper/Helm: Mitch Booth (AUS)
Co-skipper/tactician: Zhang Yiran (CHN)
Mainsail Trimmer: Liu Xue (CHN)
Headsail Trimmer: Nick Moloney (AUS)
Bowman: Freddie White (GBR)
The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trim: Kinley Fowler (NZL)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA
Fans in China can follow all the action on the newly launched Chinese website and watch the racing live on leading sports portals PPTV.com and Letv.com, as well as on regional broadcaster Qingdao TV. International fans will be able to watch the Stadium Racing action on the official event website.