Not bad eh? You'd certainly be sitting up and paying attention aboard this puppy.
During the Leg 4 stopover in Rio de Janeiro the new Volvo Extreme 40 class stretched its legs again, treating spectators to some very exciting racing, within the confines of the harbour.
A lot of words have been spent in New Zealand in recent years, as the powers that be, ponder ways of making sailing more attractive and raising the profile of the sport.
Too often the conversation gets around to bringing out some variation on an existing theme, or bringing some boat out of the cupboard that showed a lot of potential (quite) a few years ago. And certainly these ideas do have their place in trying to get people into sailing.
But there is also a real need to 'talk up the market' for sailing in the eyes of the general public, sponsors and sports media. There is no doubt that the 'market' is now in extreme sport and extreme events.(Look at the 120,000 crowd who turned up recently for an extreme sports day in Wellington recently.)
From a sailing perspective, the Extreme 40 is good response to this audience and one which will hopefully succeed and continue past the Volvo Ocean race.
Volvo Extreme 40 racing in Rio De Janeiro© Oskar Kihlborg/ Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 - Volvo Extreme 40/ Ben Faber
The Volvo Extreme 40 has all the ingredients of a stunning move for sailing – portable, fast, spectacular, a good degree of crash and burn, and they are sufficiently large to be able to carry regular media about and TV, so that fans can get a really close look at the action.
When will we see its like here? Read our feature for more on this class and the action in Rio.
The other Volvo Race meanwhile continues off Brazil as they approach the Fernando points gate. Movistar has managed to hold its lead through the light airs and then get a slingshot start into the Tradewinds. But behind her the action is still fairly tight with just 37 miles separating the van of the fleet – that’s a few miles longer than the distance from Auckland to Kawau – and there’s a long way to go to Baltimore.
In Valencia, there have been a couple of interesting moves with the arrival of Alinghi’s new generation Americas Cupper, and the announcement that Areva will once again be a principal sponsor in the 2007 edition of the Louis Vuitton Cup – this time as backer of K-Challenge. Hopefully this funds injection will be sufficient to revive the French Challenger, who were thought to have been struggling financially.
Volvo Extreme40 racing, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
© Oskar Kihlborg/ Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 - Volvo Extreme 40/ Ben Faber
PS Don’t forget to send a report and photo of your class, event or regatta to firstname.lastname@example.org