Extreme Sailing Series 2012 announced
The pioneering stadium format continues, and the circuit in 2012 will include two new countries and three new venues in addition to the five proven Host Cities from the 2011 circuit.
The ‘ISAF Special Event’ circuit continues its nine-month long globetrotting tour in its sixth year with eight events spanning three continents – once again in the GCC region, Europe, Asia and for the first time in 2012, South America.
The circuit will start in Muscat, Oman and this time conclude in Brazil, home of the 2016 Olympics. The host venues represent a mix of iconic cities, established sailing venues, and new markets where professional sailing is in its infancy.
"The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages, and variety of conditions,” said Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of the organising company OC ThirdPole. “Year on year the commercial value of hosting the event for the Host Cities has increased, and this is reflected in the 2012 developments.”
The costs for a competitive team will, once again, be squeezed down in 2012, yet the return is expected to increase for their sponsors. A core objective of the circuit remains to be the most commercially sound way for brands and host venues to benefit from the great offer that professional sailing can present. This philosophy has been at the heart of the product since its inception in 2006, with the majority of teams since 2007 being sponsorship funded.
In addition to the host venue partnerships, and local sponsors for each event, Marinepool continue as Official Lifestyle and Technical Clothing Supplier having now launched an outstanding Extreme Sailing Series merchandising collection which is sold at events, online and in Marinepool’s extetnsive network of retailers, and GAC Pindar, recently confirmed as Official Logistics Partner to the 2012 circuit. GAC Pindar will bring their expertise and global footprint to help the organisers and teams deliver what is an exacting schedule and logistics operation spanning the planet. Further partners at both series and local level will be announced in the New Year along with a complete team line up which will be at the very highest level in sporting terms, and draw sailors from more than a dozen countries. Some wildcard entry slots remain for new teams building towards a full 2013 season.
The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will start in the Sultanate of Oman in February before heading back to Qingdao, China. Istanbul, Turkey, the gateway between Europe and Asia, will host the third event before the Extreme 40 fleet heads to Porto, Portugal, a new host venue in 2012. After the habitual visit to the UK in August, the circuit will return to the Sicilian port of Trapani for the third consecutive year. The iconic city of Nice will be the final stop in Europe before the 2012 finale to be staged in Brazil for the very first time (the exact venue will be announced in January).
OC ThirdPole has worked hard to manage dates around other major events in the complex professional sailing calendar, and have been in regular contact with the America’s Cup organisers to try and co-ordinate these complementary events. This has not been an easy task for either party, and with some ACWS events still to be confirmed, Extreme Sailing Series has had to publish its final calendar without being able to eliminate clashes.
As in 2011, the format for events will focus on three days staged in a 'stadium', open to the public and VIP guests. This format has attracted over 287,000 spectators in 2011 with its unique blend of ‘stadium’ short-course racing, including all the various disciplines and courses used already from fleet racing to match racing and straight line matches, while maintaining its high-level of competition - borne out by the six different winners during 2011's nine events.
2011 saw a big step in the evolvement of public entertainment on the public days, including water-borne features such as 49er racing, Moth demo sailing, the NeilPryde Windsurfing Series and kids racing Optimists. Ashore there was family-orientated entertainment from kids activities, dance and music took place within the Extreme Race Village. Alongside this event formula, stood the premium VIP facilities that is a vital part of the Extreme Sailing Series offering, that includes the unique guest sailing experience onboard the Extreme 40s.
Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of OC ThirdPole, commented: “We’re proud to be going in to our sixth year and proud to have delivered such a high level sporting competition – yet at the same time in a format that also entertains. It can be challenging to manage the needs of all our different stakeholders that include host venues and event sponsors, teams and their partners, some of the best professional sailors in the world, sailing fans and the general public that are seeing the sport for the first time. But it’s a challenge that a relatively small but dedicated team has risen to, and we look forward to delivering a great year in 2012, once again across numerous languages, cultures and landscapes. At the start of the 2011 season we took control of the Extreme 40 Class to allow us to develop the rules of both event and boat in unison to ensure a more equal chance to win, and also drive down many of the costs for the teams. I think we still have plenty to improve and develop, on site and in communications terms, even if we have seen a very significant increase in media value this year across all our channels and platforms, in particular quality TV coverage. We have to squeeze out a lot from a relatively small budget compared with all the three other ISAF Special Events (America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and the World Match Racing Tour). We have made great progress in 2011 but there is more to do especially on the video front – we have a fantastic visual product with extraordinary characters involved.”
2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 19th-22nd April
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: UK August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December