Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ gets underway in Qingdao, China in under one week.
Qingdao ia a new venue on the 2011 nine-stop global circuit*.
The 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet was placed on board a ship after Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat, Oman bound for China and the Extreme 40s are on course to be delivered to their new host venue in Fushan Bay, home of the 2008 Olympic Village, tomorrow.
The 11 Extreme 40 teams will by vying to win Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series for the Double Star Cup organised in association with the Qingdao Yachting Association. The organising committee for the Qingdao event has put in place a strong marketing campaign around the city and a host of cultural activities that includes an Official Opening Ceremony on the 13th April at the Shangri-la Hotel, Chinese Traditional Dances, Street Dances and Taiji Fan displays, martial arts, acrobatic demonstrations as well as BMX and roller blading displays, alongside a ‘5th-man’ and photographic competition.
Qingdao is China’s fourth largest manufacturing port in the country and known as the ‘City of Sailing’ since staging the sailing programme of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as well as being selected as a stopover port for both the Volvo Ocean Race and the Clipper Race. Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series will see two days of ‘open water’ racing (13-14 April), allowing the race management to set ‘true’ upwind and downwind courses without the confines of the ‘stadium’ sailing format which commences on the 15th April for three days, with the 11-boat fleet racing right in front of the spectators. And the public will be out in force supporting Chinese sailor, William Wu, who will be joining Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme. William was part of the America’s Cup China Team, and joined the first Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Regatta in Auckland in 2009. As well as his passion for sailing, William is a regular marathon runner (best time approx 3.5 hours) and has a passion for mountaineering, climbing to a height of 6805m on Everest in 2004. William has never experienced anything like racing on board the super-light Extreme 40 catamaran that can reach a top speed of 46 mph [74 km/h] on a race course that is no bigger than six football pitches.
Like the Formula 1 Grand Prix being staged over the same weekend in Shanghai, the Extreme Sailing Series is renowned for delivering close-combat racing at high speeds all within sight of the spectators – collisions, capsizes and the occasional man overboard are par for the course and the Chinese public will see, for the first time, this exciting circuit first-hand.
Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr. Wang commented. '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. 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.'
Following on from their Act 1 victory, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will be looking to secure another win under their belt, but it will be no easy task. The result in Muscat went to the wire with victory only secured in the final double-points race by Pennec’s crew who were pushed hard by Artemis Racing (second) and Red Bull Extreme Sailing (third) – Hagara’s team scoring their first podium result since joining the circuit, and will benefit from the experience of Will Howden who competed on the waters of Qingdao in the 2008 Olympics. For Act 2, Santiago Lange from Argentina will be taking the helm on Artemis Racing from regular skipper Terry Hutchinson and Rodney Adern will replace Sean Clarkson for this regatta. Britain’s Mark Bulkeley, part of the 2009 Oman Sail Masirah winning crew, will be joining the Italian’s on Team NiceForYou replacing Alberto Sonino. Extreme Sailing Series Overall Standings after Act 1:
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham / 11 points
2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers / 10 points
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk / 9 points
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Richard Meacham / 8 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena / 7 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / 6 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri / 5 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari / 4 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Michael Walther / 3 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Alberto Sonino / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari / 2 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth / 1 point
*The circuit will visit Muscat (Oman), Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Boston (USA), Cowes (UK), Trapani (Italy), Nice (France), Almeria (Spain) and, finally, Singapore starting in February until December 2011. www.extremesailingseries.com