Extreme Sailing Series wraps up seventh year
by Extreme Sailing Series on 28 Nov 2013
In its seventh year on the international sailing calendar, the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series™ global circuit has seen sixteen world-class teams – including an invited home nation team at each venue and two wildcard entries - compete in seven Acts, spanning three continents in what has been another extraordinary year of world-class sporting competition.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 - Florianopolis Vincent Curutchet / Lloyd images / OC http://www.lloydimages.com/
Bringing sailing to the public through its pioneering Stadium Racing format, in 2013 the Series attracted record numbers of spectators on site, demonstrating its continued appeal to a growing number of fans who return year on year to watch the high-performance spectacle, and appealing to an audience that goes beyond sailing fans. And the loyal following of supporters around the globe who tune into every Act to follow the live coverage has continued to grow, as the Series leads the sport into new territories and audiences.
The global media value of the Series is expected to increase again in 2013 (valued as €27.8 million in 2012 by independent auditors Havas Sponsorship Insights) with TV providing the lion’s share of coverage. Live TV output by national broadcasters Oman TV, Strahub (Singapore), Qingdao TV, (China), RTP2 (Porto), L’Equipe 21 (France) and SportTV (Brazil) contributes significantly. And distribution of the official 7 x 26-minute TV series has continued to grow both in terms of reach and quality of channels with 54 broadcasters now showing the series across five continents, making it the most widely distributed annual sailing TV series in the world.
2013 also underlined the Series unique and global appeal to premium brands, significantly with the signing of iconic British brand Land Rover as the first of two Series Main Partners in a three-year deal, with a key objective in 2014 to secure a second Main Partner to sit at the same level.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Sponsorship Director said: 'We at Land Rover are immensely proud to have reignited our association with sailing this year through the Extreme Sailing Series. The determination, courage and ability to intelligently respond to fast changing conditions are what is required to be at the top of the sport and these are all core values shared by Land Rover. We are already looking forward to the 2014 season, bringing a mixture of existing and new city venues suited to stadium racing, each providing a unique mix of excitement and the very highest quality of competition sailing.'
At an Official Series Partner level, clothing partners Marinepool extended their support to 2016 and Swiss watchmakers EDOX signed a three-year deal as Official Timekeeper. Locally, global asset management company Aberdeen Asset Management confirmed their support of the Singapore Act until 2015 and Yandex provided the backing for one of the main warm-up acts, SpeedDream.
Starting in the Sultanate of Oman in March, it was a down to the wire battle between the Austrian Olympic gold medallists on Red Bull Sailing Team and the home team and defending champions The Wave, Muscat. Leigh McMillan and the team on The Wave, Muscat sailed a picture perfect final day coming back from a 15 point deficit to claim overall victory over Red Bull Sailing Team, in the closest possible finish on their home turf. Team Duqm Oman were the invited home nation team, helmed by Extreme 40 veteran Robert Greenhalgh, who expertly steered his team to fourth place, which would go on to be the best result of an invitational home team in 2013.
From the Middle East the fleet headed to Asia and the second Act of the year in Singapore with the support of Local Main Partner Aberdeen Asset Management and the local entry Team Aberdeen Singapore. With American Morgan Larson in the driving seat, Alinghi set the pace early on and sailed a faultless regatta to secure victory. A second place for Red Bull Sailing Team left them sharing spoils at the top of the Series leaderboard with Alinghi, while the Danish on SAP Extreme Sailing Team secured their first ever podium finish over four days of racing on the iconic Marina Bay.
Next to China, where Series organiser OC Sport officially announced a three year partnership with Land Rover as Series Main Partner from the 2008 Olympic sailing city of Qingdao. China also saw a return to form for McMillan and The Wave, Muscat who clinched victory, just two points ahead of Alinghi. This Swiss team, however, maintained the upper hand on the Series leaderboard.
Next the customary European element of the tour began, and Porto in Portugal provided the ultimate challenge in Stadium Racing, with a narrow river, high walls, strong tides, big rocks and gusty winds to contend with. The fleet were joined by Red Bull Youth America’s Cup entries Team TILT and ROFF Cascais Saling Team, but once again it was the experienced teams at the top of the Act leaderboard with The Wave, Muscat topping the ranking, ahead of Alinghi and newcomers for 2013 Realteam, who secured their first ever podium finish.
Cardiff UK welcomed the Extreme 40s as part of the Cardiff Harbour Festival over the UK August bank holiday weekend and the fans came in their thousands to watch the Extreme 40s race in the heart of the Welsh capital. The Wave, Muscat again clinched victory after four tense days, and more significantly, the hard-fought Act win was an important victory, enabling the Omani team to wrest the Series lead back from Alinghi, who had been tied on points going into Cardiff.
The penultimate Act of the year took the fleet to the Nice, and the French Riviera threw everything at the fleet – from 25 knots and two metre swell that at time times saw the Extreme 40s battle the elements to keep their 40ft catamarans upright, to the placid gentle breeze that played across the Bay of Angels. After sailing a near faultless regatta, The Wave, Muscat were crowned champions of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 7 Nice, presented by Land Rover and headed to the final in Florianopolis, Brazil top of the Series leaderboard.
Thousands of onlookers watched in Florianopolis, Brazil as the battle that had raged all year between the Swiss and Omani teams came to a head, in a fight that went down to the final race. The team that led the charge for so much of 2013, The Wave, Muscat won the Series making skipper McMillan the only skipper to have won the Series twice, and the consolation for Alinghi was lifting the silverware for winning the final Act.
The eighth year of the elite level Stadium Racing series is shaping up to be one of the most exciting to date, with an ambitious line up of eight venues for 2014, and what, on paper, looks like one of the most competitive team line ups ever. The official 2014 announcements will begin on Thursday 28 November, as the Host Venue for Act 1 is Extreme Sailing Series