Extreme Sailing Series™ 2011 official launch in Estoril (Portugal) in December 2010 confirmed China as one of nine the host countries – a new territory for this year’s circuit and a significant step into the burgeoning Asian market. Today [27th January, 2011] it can now be revealed that Qingdao, the fourth largest manufacturing port in the country and known as the City of Sailing, will be the official host Chinese venue to Act 2 to be staged between 13th to 17th April.
The Wave, Muscat, in action on the final day of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ Almeria
The Extreme Sailing Series Race Village will be located in Fushan Bay, which was also the home of the Olympic Village in 2008, and will be open to the public between the 15th to 17th April when the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet will race inside the bay right in front of the spectators [13th-14th April are ‘open water’ days when the fleet will be racing outside of Fushan Bay].
'The Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at nine iconic venues this year, a mix of international cities and coastal resorts,' said Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of the circuit organisers, OC ThirdPole. 'The circuit has already established a footprint in Asia with our events in Hong Kong and Singapore, and to confirm Qingdao as the host venue to Act 2 cements our vision to be a truly ‘global’ circuit that strives to reach new international destinations and take the Extreme Sailing Series to new audiences that have a strong appeal to our stakeholders.'
An official ceremony in Qingdao today, attended by Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr Xiu-Lin Wang, along with the President of Qingdao Yacht Association, Mdm Zhi-Wei Lin, and Mark Turner, sealed the agreement with the city as a host venue to the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011.
'I feel proud that Qingdao becomes the first city in China to host the ESS event,' stated Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr. Wang. 'The competitive and exciting Extreme Sailing Series event will provide the city of Qingdao another opportunity to play on the international stage and reinforce its image as the sailing capital of China.'
'Qingdao will benefit from this event by learning from the experience of the organiser, OC ThirdPole, in race and event management which in the long run will help the sailing development in Qingdao. The people of Qingdao will be able to enjoy another grand prix sailing event after the Olympic Sailing and Volvo Ocean Race. I am expecting to see the Olympic Sailing Center, the venue for the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao event, turn into a festive mood when the racing is on. The Qingdao people will enjoy both the racing and entertainment activities taking place in the race village. ?By hosting the Extreme Sailing Series event, we also hope to attract the younger generation to get interested in sailing. Children will have chance to meet the crew and I am confident that the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao event will be of a great success.'
In addition to securing a Chinese venue, the search is on to find a Chinese sailor to race during Act 2 on board ‘Team Extreme!’ as part of the crew, skippered by experienced Olympic multihull sailor Roland Gaebler from Germany. As Turner explains: 'Team Extreme is being led by Roland with international sailing stars Bruno Dubois and Sebbe Godefroid as his regular crew. However, the objective for Team Extreme is to have a sailor from the country of each host venue to take the fourth crew spot to provide an opportunity for that country to showcase their best national or local sailing talent.'
Act 2, 15th – 17th April (13th-14th ‘open-water’ racing)
Now known as the City of Sailing, Qingdao’s became the host venue for sailing for Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Games boosting its profile to an international audience. Perfectly located on the Southeast peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Yellow Sea, Qingdao is now China’s premier sailing destination with first class facilities at its International Sailing Center.
Originally opened to tourism in 1984 the city now attracts 15 million visitors a year and is the fourth largest manufacturing port in the country. Framed by miles of golden sandy beaches, combined with steady winds that make it a perfect racing location.
Qingdao is a city steeped in China's 20th century history. Now a tourism hotspot in China, the sprawling city has a population of 7.5 million and a vibrant economy. The Downtown skyline can rival that of any major city with an impressive array of cultures, cuisines, and lively nightlife. Tsingato, the most popular beer in China operates their headquarters and main brewery in Qingdao. The brewery is open to visitors who can take a tour around the oldest working brewery in China, whilst the brewery can be observed in action and guests can enjoy the beer tasting afterward!
2011 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1: 22-24 February, Muscat, Oman (20-21 ‘open-water’ racing*)
Act 2: 15-17 April, Qingdao, China (13-14 ‘open-water’ racing)
Act 3: 27-29 May, Istanbul, Turkey (25-26 ‘open-water’ racing)?
Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA (all days public event)?
Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, UK (all days public event)
Act 6: 16-18 September, Trapani, Italy (14-15 ‘open-water’ racing)?
Act 7: 30 September – 2 October, Nice, France (28-29 ‘open-water’ racing)?
Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, Spain (all days public event)
Act 9: 9-11 December, Singapore (7-8 ‘open-water’ racing)
2011 Confirmed Teams & Skippers:
Team Name - Nat. - Skipper Name - Nat.
Alinghi - SUI - Tanguy Cariou - FRA
Artemis Racing - SWE - Terry Hutchinson - USA
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild - FRA - Pierre Pennec - FRA
Luna Rossa - ITA - Max Sirena - ITA
NiceForYou - ITA - Alberto Barovier - ITA
Oman Air - OMA - Sidney Gavignet - FRA
Red Bull Extreme Sailing - AUT - Roman Hagara - AUT
Team GAC Pindar - GBR - Ian Williams - GBR
Team Extreme! - EUR - Roland Gaebler - GER
Team New Zealand - NZL - Dean Barker - NZL
The Wave, Muscat - OMA - Torvar Mirsky - AUS