Extreme Sailing Series to visit Qingdao
At the official launch of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series in Estoril, Portugal in December, China was confirmed as one of nine the host countries – a new territory for this year’s circuit and a significant step into the burgeoning Asian market. Today Qingdao has been revealed as the official host Chinese venue, the second stop of the series, to be held over 13-17 April.
Yacht racing in front of the Qingdao skyline
The Extreme Sailing Series Race Village will be located in Fushan Bay, home of the Olympic Village in 2008, and will be open to the public between 15-17 April when the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet will race inside the bay, right in front of the spectators. 13-14 April are ‘open water’ days when the fleet will be racing outside of Fushan Bay.
“The Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at nine iconic venues this year, a mix of international cities and coastal resorts,” said Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of the circuit organisers, OC ThirdPole. “The circuit has already established a footprint in Asia with our events in Hong Kong and Singapore, and to confirm Qingdao as the host venue to Act 2 cements our vision to be a truly ‘global’ circuit that strives to reach new international destinations and take the Extreme Sailing Series to new audiences that have a strong appeal to our stakeholders.”
An official ceremony in Qingdao today, attended by Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr Xiu-Lin Wang, along with the President of Qingdao Yacht Association, Mdm Zhi-Wei Lin, and Mark Turner, sealed the agreement with the city as a host venue to the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011.
“I feel proud that Qingdao becomes the first city in China to host the ESS event,” stated Vice Mayor of Qingdao, Mr. Wang. “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.
“Qingdao will benefit from this event by learning from the experience of the organiser, OC ThirdPole, in race and event management which in the long run will help the sailing development in Qingdao. The people of Qingdao will be able to enjoy another grand prix sailing event after the Olympic Sailing and Volvo Ocean Race. 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. By hosting the Extreme Sailing Series event, we also hope to attract the younger generation to get interested in sailing. Children will have chance to meet the crew and I am confident that the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao event will be of a great success.”
In addition to securing a Chinese venue, the search is on to find a Chinese sailor to race during Act 2 on board Team Extreme! as part of the crew, skippered by experienced Olympic Tornado sailor Roland Gaebler from Germany. As Turner explains: “Team Extreme! is being led by Roland with international sailing stars Bruno Dubois and Sebbe Godefroid as his regular crew. However, the objective for Team Extreme is to have a sailor from the country of each host venue to take the fourth crew spot to provide an opportunity for that country to showcase their best national or local sailing talent.”