From AC45 to Extreme 40 and back

James Boyd Photography /
Team Korea and GAC Pindar crewman Mark Bulkeley looks at the two catamaran circuits
Uber cat sailors are the ones who sail BOTH the Extreme Sailing Series and the America’s Cup World Series. You heard it here first... At the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff week before last those who had hightailed it back from the ACWS event in San Francisco numbered just three: Christophe André and Arnaud Psarofaghis, both racing with Energy Team in the AC45s and then with Pierre Pennec on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, plus lone Brit, former Tornado Olympian Mark Bulkeley, who went from sailing with Nathan Outteridge on Team Korea in San Francisco to the GAC Pindar Extreme 40.In fact Bulkeley says he has segued directly into four of this year’s five Extreme Sailing Series regattas from other events. This time the move left him just two days to train with the GAC Pindar prior to the Cardiff regatta with a crew including Beijing Laser Radial Gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe (in the new ‘5th man’ slot – which can be either a woman, an under 23-year-old or an amateur). Bulkeley observes that there are increasing similarities between the Extreme Sailing Series and the America’s Cup World Series in that now there are roughly the same number of boats competing over the same number of days (now that the format for the latter has been shortened), although budgets for the AC45 catamarans (and that circuit in general) remains far higher. Burn rate on the crews is also different between the two circuits. In the latest iteration of the regularly amended ACWS format there are typically two fleet races each day of 25 minutes duration (plus match racing) while the Extreme Sailing Series runs as many as 10 races a day each of 15 minutes, but the work on board the 40s is nowhere near as intense as it is on the 45s. “The