On to Trapani
Sicily with its pertinent strapline of ‘Sailing Seacily’ will play host to the Extreme Sailing Series for the second consecutive year and expectations are high: “The beautiful thing about Trapani is the spectacular scenery and is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever sailed in. And above all the people are very welcoming and warm and we expect a good reception there,” saidLuna Rossa
skipper, Max Sirena. “I think it will be a very windy event, having seen how it was last year and that is what we expect this year. We hope to arrive there in good shape to sail well.”
And the Italian team will be eager to pull off a second win of the season. At the halfway stage, each event has been won by a different team (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, in Muscat; Luna Rossa in Qingdao; Artemis Racing in Istanbul; Emirates Team New Zealand in Boston while at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, Luna Rossa were near victors, but lost out in the final race to Oman’s The Wave, Muscat, skippered by British Olympic Tornado sailor, Leigh McMillan. With Luna Rossa just 1 point adrift of Emirates Team New Zealand who top the overall standings and the French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 4 points from the top, there is plenty at stake.
The Italian public will have not one but two Italian teams to cheer for. Alberto Barovier, skipper of Team Niceforyou: “First of all we are at home because we are in Italy. I have America’s Cup experience, and Trapani is a place that gives you a tremendous welcome and the crowd is always close to the action. We as Italians can’t wait to get to Trapani,” said Barovier. “Trapani, wait for us because we’re coming!”
The Race Village 6 opens on 14 September and there is plenty for the public to do and see with promotional and retail stands and live music every day. Italy’s main broadcaster, RAI TV, will be broadcasting live from the event over 17-18 September and a live online feed with race commentary will be made available to viewers around the world.
The Extreme 40 fleet will start racing at 1500 CET every day over 14-18 September, with the fleet racing inside the harbour in ‘stadium racing’ mode from the 16th. Team Extreme will be racing under the colours of ‘Sailing Seacily’, skippered by Sebbe Godefroid in place of Roland Gaebler.
Joining the Extreme 40 fleet for the next three events is Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor, Ben Ainslie, as he takes over from Sidney Gavignet as skipper of Oman Air. The British public and media will be watching closely to see how he takes to two hulls!
In addition, local children will be racing in up to 50 Optimist dinghies before the Extreme 40 race as part of the circuit’s initiative to open up the doors of its events to young sailors. Another initiative under the ‘Sea of Opportunity’ banner caters for unique B2B opportunities organised by the Easy Consulting Group. Its aim is to promote networking between the participants and Easy Consulting’s clients by bringing together leading Italian and foreign brand names and ensuring worldwide visibility. The mission of the 'Sea of Opportunities' initiative is to favour synergies between top-flight businesses, facilitate meetings and contacts with new customers, and implement business potentials.
To date the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series has delivered plenty of adrenalin-fuelled action to the spectators lining the ‘stadium’ foreshore. The Chinese round witnessed four capsizes in one day in difficult, gusty conditions; in Istanbul similar conditions resulted in Alinghi crashing into Team Extreme causing race-ending damage; and in Cowes, wild-card entry Aberdeen Asset Management took a nose-dive, after more than demonstrating their competitiveness on the race course, while Groupe Edmond de Rothschild smashed into Artemis Racing, ending their event. What can happen in Trapani, nobody knows but in 2010 the conditions were testing and the spectators can expect another spectacular showcase of stadium racing this year.
Extreme Sailing Series 2011 - overall standings after five events
1st Emirates Team New Zealand 44 points
2nd Luna Rossa 43 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 40 points
4th Artemis Racing 38 points
5th The Wave, Muscat 38 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 36 points
7th Alinghi 33 points
8th Oman Air 22 points
9th Team GAC Pindar 13 points
10th Niceforyou 12 points
11th Team Extreme 11 points