Hagara gets his wings
Double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara and his Olympic crew Hans-Peter Steinacher were a show-stopper on the Danube in Vienna yesterday when they formally announced their participation in the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series circuit, stopping the traffic and the passers-by as they craned to get a view of the dashing Red Bull Extreme 40.
The team sailed their Extreme 40 by the United Nations City and the towering Donauturm TV Tower in the Austrian capital, flying a hull for the media gathered to take their turn onboard the 40ft catamaran.
"We will be up against the best sailors in the world this year in the Extreme Sailing Series Europe and we want to establish ourselves on the big boat scene," reasoned skipper Roman Hagara for their entry into the 2010 circuit.
The European circuit isn't the first foray into Extreme 40 racing for the Red Bull team. They joined the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia over the winter of 2009/2010 visiting Hong Kong, Singapore and Muscat, Oman, racing five other established Extreme 40 teams. The team finished a credible fifth overall despite a dramatic capsize in the penultimate day in Muscat that left Hagara requiring hospital treatment.
Racing with the only Austrian sportsmen to win Gold medals at the summer Olympics, will be David Vera (ESP) and Gabriele Olivo (ITA), both of whom have competed in the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race on board Telefonica. "Vera's arms are like tree trunks and he has a lot of very valuable experience on big boats," explained Hagara, "And Olivo is a very fast trimmer and has attracted interest from a lot of other teams. We feel we have a very strong team."
In Sète, Red Bull Extreme Sailing will be joined by Downhill skiing legend and Dakar Rally driver Luc Alphand - a hugely popular sporting icon in France.
The first public event starts in Sète, France, on 28 May (27 May is an exclusive point-scoring media day) when up to nine international teams will meet to fight it out for the first event. French sailing legends Franck Cammas and Loick Peyron have already announced their entries on Groupama and Oman Sail Masirah. They'll be joined by Yann Guichard and his Groupe Edmond de Rothschild team, with five other teams to be announced over the next week.
Event Director Gilles Chiorri commented, "Red Bull is an iconic, international brand and to have them backing a team of such high calibre as Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher is great news for the circuit. Roman posted some excellent results on the board in Asia and will certainly be one the other teams are keeping an eye on."