Veolia tries their hand at Extreme 40s
Round the World sailing legend Roland Jourdain has thrown his hat into the ring and will be entering his Extreme 40, Veolia Environnement, into the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week this year, bringing the fleet to nine in total. One of the World's very best ocean racing skippers, Jourdain is a two-times IMOCA World Champion and has won the Transat Jacques Vabre twice as well as the infamous Route du Rhum.
Swapping long-haul ocean racing for the short racecourses the circuit has become renowned for will certainly challenge the skipper from Quimper, France, who for the past 15 years has been focussing on long-course monohull racing since being crowned Formula 40 World Champion in 1989, the catamaran made famous in the Hollywood movie, The Thomas Crowne Affair.
Jourdain commented: "Our participation in Cowes Week in August is an excellent occasion for us to be up against the big champions from all countries. I hardly sailed multihulls for the past ten years so it will be a tough task, but it will be a pleasure to be on the Formula 40s of the third millennium."
Joining Jourdain will be experienced Extreme 40 sailor Jean-Christophe Mourniac, former French National Match Racing Champion Philippe Legros and America's Cup veteran and experienced match racer, Christophe André, who raced in 2009 in both the Kiel and Amsterdam Extreme 40 events with Luna.
Jourdain will be up against some of the biggest names in multihull sailing. Three French compatriots will be on the start line on 31 July. Loïck Peyron, helming defending Champions Oman Sail Masirah, Franck Cammas, onboard Groupama 40 and Yann Guichard, winner of the first event in Sète at the end of May 2010 with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
The nine-strong line-up will include Jourdain's old sparring rival Mike Golding, another veteran Vendee Globe skipper, with Ecover Sailing Team and double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing.
The Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week will see more racing than ever before with six days of action right off the shorefront at Egypt Point every afternoon. For the first three days racing will be from 3pm and for the final three days the shore side entertainment will start from 4pm to ensure as many competitors taking part in Cowes Week will be able to enjoy the action.
As part of the Extreme Sailing Series' initiative to engage with the wider community, Veolia Environnement will be supporting the charity Plan France, the French arm of Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded over 70 years ago. Plan works in 48 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan works with more than 3,500,000 families and their communities each year and is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations. Plan's vision is of a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people's rights and dignity.
2010 Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week Schedule
Friday 30 July
1pm - Media Day, Press Conference
2.30pm - Informal racing, first start off Royal Yacht Squadron
Saturday 31 July - Monday 2 August
10am - Start long-distance race off Royal Yacht Squadron
3pm - Afternoon, short course racing off Egypt Point
End of Racing - Daily prizegiving
Tuesday 3 August - Thursday 5 August
10am - Start long-distance race off Royal Yacht Squadron (no race Tues 3 Aug)
4pm - Entertainment begins
5pm - Afternoon, short course racing off Egypt Point
6.30pm - End of event prizegiving