Mark Lloyd / Extreme Sailing Series

Ready for racing

Penultimate round of the Extreme Sailing Series starts in Almeria tomorrow

Tuesday October 11th 2011, Author: Lou Newlands, Location: Spain

Under the protection of Almeria’s famous landmark, the Alcazaba fortress that nestles above the bustling Spanish city, the 11 Extreme 40 racing machines are ready to race in the penultimate round of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series.

Some of the teams have been out training today on the official practice day including the new multinational team, Team TILT, led by Swiss multihull specialist Alex Schneiter, three-time winner of the Bol d’Or. He may find some familiarity between his M2 multihull light-wind lake racing to the prevalent light winds in Almeria today. Also out training was Spanish Tornado Olympic medalist Antón Paz (above)with Team Extreme. Paz won gold at the Beijing Olympics and will be a great asset to Roland Gaebler’s team, a fellow Tornado Olympic bronze medallist.

Almeria has been the setting for the final over the last two years and many of the sailors know the venue well: “This event has offered some pretty spectacular and very close racing particularly inside the harbour here,” said Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat. “With any kind of wind it can be full-on boat on boat battling. I think it’s inevitable that we will get some full-on situations in the stadium racing.”

Tomorrow is a Spanish National Holiday and the Extreme 40 fleet will be racing inside the port of Almeria to give the local holidaying public a taste of the stadium action to come. Although there will not be stacks of breeze over the next couple of days, by the weekend a good gradiant breeze and some gusty conditions will have developed, squeezed out of a high pressure located over Central Europe and a low pressure system developing near Sicily and extending over Tunisia and eastern Algeria. Setting the stage for some great final ‘stadium’ racing over the weekend.

One boat that always gets noticed by the crowds is Red Bull Extreme Sailing, which finished seventh in Almeria in 2010, with the team displaying a stunning turn of speed in the breeze. For Almeria, Matt Adams, coach to the team, returns as trimmer. A diverse sailing career spanning match racing, TP52s, Fastnet Race and Figaro racing, Adams knows the team well and will fit into their talents perfectly.

The French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild now lead the 2011 Overall Extreme Sailing Series, after the victory at the last round in Nice, just two points ahead of the Italian Luna Rossa team, helmed by Paul Campbell-James, who was at the helm of The Wave, Muscat when they claimed overall victory last year in Almeria.

For the teams in contention for the overall 2011 title, the penultimate event is all about setting them up for the final battle in Singapore. For others, that dream may be over but the final rankings will still be hotly contested: “Having come back so well in the last three events in the overall standings, we might have thrown away realistically the chance of fighting for the overall win,” concluded McMillan. “That one event in Nice was pretty tough. But in reality, we have already far exceeded what we thought we could achieve this year and even if we can get back in contention with the leaders, it is really about racing well and that is all we have set ourselves to do here.”

WEBcam from Almeria – Schedule:

Wednesday, 12th October
Live stadium race coverage between 1445-1800 CET

Thursday/Friday, 13th/14th October
Post ‘open water’ racing analysis with the sailors

Saturday/Sunday, 15th/16th October
Live stadium race coverage between 1445-1800 CET

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