Olympic Gold medallists and world record holders will take to the River Thames on Monday 21 July in their bid to secure the fastest navigation of the Thames between Greenwich Yacht Club and the O2 Arena.
Four-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent will battle it out against Solo Round the World Yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur and a host of other top sailing experts onboard the iShares Extreme 40 - one of the quickest and most innovative boats on the water - to establish a new River Thames record.
First up will be Dame Ellen MacArthur and Round the World sailing legend Nick Moloney representing BT Team Ellen, followed by Matthew Pinsent and former British Olympian Hugh Styles, skipper of the iShares Extreme 40.
2007 iShares Cup Champion Rob Greenhalgh will go third for the British America's Cup Team Origin alongside his brother Peter Greenhalgh and finally Olympic Bronze Medallist Chris Draper with Oman Sail Skipper Pete Cummings. The iShares Extreme 40 will be in the capital ahead of the UK stop on the five-event iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series (2-4 August) which takes place for the second year running during Skandia Cowes Week (2-9 August). It will also be an opportunity to announce that London has been shortlisted as a possible venue for 2009.
Sir Keith Mills, Principal of the British America's Cup Team Origin, lends his support to London.
'The iShares Cup is one of the most exhilarating sailing events I've ever seen and it would be spectacular to host this type of event in the capital. The racing is so close to the spectators, you can almost reach out and touch the boats as they speed past: it really is sailing in a stadium. London is a dynamic and vibrant sporting city and to have the opportunity to welcome some of the World's best sailors and teams to race in the heart of the capital would be a fantastic opportunity.'
There are only 17 Extreme 40s in existence and at 40ft long, 26ft wide, consisting of two hulls with a trampoline style netting slung between the hulls on which the crew move around, weighing only 1.3 tonnes, and made entirely of carbon fibre, they can reach speeds of up to 40 knots (46 mph), and can 'fly' a hull in very light winds, providing an exhilarating ride onboard.
Another unique aspect is that every boat races with a '5th Man', which could be a member of the media or VIP guest, giving them the chance to ride shotgun alongside the world's best sailors. This weekend you can also catch the second episode of the iShares Cup TV Series on Sky Sports in UK & Ireland. The second event of the circuit in Hyères saw the Extreme 40s blasting around the Cote d'Azur in glorious sunshine as the Mistral provided some big breezes, and Programme 2 includes fantastic footage of Tommy Hilfiger's spectacular pitchpole, Team Origin's capsize, and Alinghi's dramatic victory.
Catch the programme on:
Friday 18th July @ 1830 Sky Sport 2
Friday 18th July @ 2130 Sky Sport Xtra
Saturday 19th July @ 0430 Sky Sport Xtra
Saturday 19th July @ 0830 Sky Sport Xtra
Sunday 3rd August @ 1800 Sky Sport 3
Sunday 3rd August @ 2230 Sky Sport Extra
Eleven teams will be taking part in the iShares Cup at Skandia Cowes Week held between 2-4 August including, for the first time in 157 years on Solent waters, the current America's Cup Defender Alinghi racing against America's Cup Challenger BMW Oracle Racing, the first meeting of these two sporting giants since the last America's Cup in Valencia in 2007.
Joining them on the start line along with BT, iShares, Oman Sail and Team Origin, will be JPMorgan Asset Management, helmed by the only woman in the fleet, double Olympic Gold medallist Shirley Robertson, Dutch teams Holmatro and Volvo Ocean Race and privately run Team Aqua.