Fleet grows to eight
Sailing superstars competing in the event include double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson OBE helming JPMorgan Asset Management , world number one in the Olympic class Tornado, Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby onboard BT skippered by round the world sailor Nick Moloney, Volvo Ocean Race winners Rob Greenhalgh and Justin Slattery racing Basilica and America's Cup sailors Andrew McLean on Volvo Ocean Race and David Carr on JPMorgan Asset Management and Holmatro skipper Carolijn Brouwer, the world's best female Olympic class Tornado sailor, to name just a few!
As Title Partners iShares has been integral to the success of the Series so far. Jennifer Grancio, Head of Distribution, Europe for iShares commented, "In the run up to the series we have been really excited but it isn't until you actually see the boats racing on the water that you really appreciate how exciting, innovative and competitive the iShares Cup is. The UK is a key market for iShares and it is fitting that we are able to bring the series to Cowes during Skandia Cowes Week. Sailing continually pushes the boundaries of technology and innovation and we are delighted to be supporting a sport whose characteristics mirror our approach to investing."
The iShares Cup kicked off in Munich between 25-27 May with Rob Greenhalgh helming Basilica to an early lead in the series. Six weeks later on French water in Marseille (7-9 July), the British team was knocked off pole position by French sailor Franck Cammas. Basilica refused to be held down by Cammas who put in a one-off appearance with his team Groupama. By day two Basilica was back in the lead finally taking the title in Marseille.
At this event, the penultimate in the series, Basilica will go head to head with seven other top-notch crews. Rob Greenhalgh commented, "We noticed in Marseille that with a fleet of seven boats the racing was tougher so with eight boats in Cowes the racing should be even more interesting, fun and competitive. The more boats on the water the better!"
iShares Cup Race Manager Alan Hillman predicts that this event could be the most competitive so far in the iShares Cup. "With eight boats on the start-line and with the unique sailing conditions found on the Solent, this regatta is going to throw a whole new set of variables at the teams. Basilica is currently showing strength in the series so it will be interesting to see if the team can pull off a hat-trick in their own backyard.
"Many of the teams will bring in sailors with local knowledge but putting together a winning team will require a blend of great boat handling, close quarter boat on boat tactics and an intimate knowledge of the local wind and tide variations. With the back drop of Skandia Cowes Week and the memories of the iShares Cup, Marseille fresh in the mind, this event is going to be one of the best Extreme 40 events to date."
Holmatro , skippered by Carolijn Brouwer, Tommy Hilfiger skippered by Stan Schreyer, BT skippered by Nick Moloney and Eirk Pedersen's Team SLAM Denmark will all return to the circuit with their core crew intact while Volvo Ocean Race will bring new blood to their crew with a team of sailors from New Zealand. Team skipper Aaron McIntosh is looking forward to racing in Cowes. "We will be the rookie Extreme 40 team and that's fine by me. We have talent in our team, it's just a case of molding into a tight unit to get the most out of the Extreme 40."
Two new, mostly British teams will round out the challenge in Cowes. Both JPMorgan Asset Management and ABN AMRO took part in the recent JPMorgan Asset Mangement Round the Island Race with Extreme 40 JPMorgan Asset Management taking line honours in the event and ABN AMRO finishing close behind. JPMorgan Asset Management led by Shirley Robertson and ABN AMRO led by Jonnie Hutchcroft will attempt to shake up the leaderboard by scoring high points at the iShares Cup at Skandia Cowes Week.
Carolijn Brouwer and Shirley Robertson will be the first two female skippers to compete in the 2007 iShares Cup. Brouwer is no stranger to Extreme 40 competition, racing in the 2005-2006 Extreme 40 series and taking part in the recent iShares Endurance Race, the Bol d'Or Mirabaud in Switzerland. Both sailors are currently campaigning for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Racing for the iShares Cup at Skandia Cowes Week trophy runs from 3-5 August starting at 1400hrs. On Friday 3 August racing will be held of The Green by the Royal Yacht Squadron and from 4-5 August racing will be held either off Stone Point or in Osborne Bay to be determined on the morning of racing.
Exhibition racing will be held daily from 7-9 August from 1730-1900hrs and will be held close to the shore off The Green by the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The winning Extreme 40 will be berthed nightly at Shepards Wharf.
Current iShares Cup Standing/ Team Name / Crew / Overall Points
1. Basilica Rob Greenhalgh, Pete Greenhalgh, James Grant, Justin Slattery 20 pts
2. Holmatro Carolijn Brouwer, Sebbe Goddefroid, Greg Homann, Aren van Bergeijk 16 pts
3. Tommy Hilfiger Stan Schreyer, Jonathon Farrar, Mark van Gelderen, Richard Feeney 13 pts
4. BT Nick Moloney, Darren Bundock, Glen Ashby, Hugh Styles 13 pts
5. Volvo Ocean Race Aaron McIntosh, Mark Kennedy, Ryan Houston, Andrew McLean 13 pts
6. Team SLAM Denmark Erik Pedersen, Michael Svensson, Lars Orun Nielsen, Peter Baeksted, Henrik Boje 10 pts
7. ABN AMRO Jonnie Hutchcroft, Sam Chaddar, TBC, TBC 0 pts
8. JPMorgan Asset Management Shirley Robertson, David Carr, Fraser Brown, Nick Hutton 0 pts