2013 Extreme Sailing Series starting grid
The announcement was made from the stand of Marinepool, Official Clothing Partner, as they also confirmed a new three-year extension to their contract with the Extreme Sailing Series.
The 2013 Series is to be contested once again by sailors from all over the globe, partnered by a host of strong commercial brands. The Wave, Muscat in Oman will host the 2013 season opener for the third consecutive year where new faces and new teams will meet the more seasoned sailors for the first time. Five of the teams who will be on the start line in Muscat on 5 March are returning teams: Red Bull Sailing Team, Alinghi, The Wave Muscat, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and GAC Pindar.
“We have a great series of positive news releases coming up over the next few weeks as we build up to another great season of Extreme Sailing Series," stated Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of organisers OC Sport. "It is great to kick-off with the renewal of the Marinepool partnership with a long term commitment, and a full starting grid for a rapidly approaching first 2013 Act in Muscat. With a fair amount of uncertainty reigning at the top of professional sailing, we’re very pleased that the Extreme Sailing Series is heading in to its seventh continuous year of top level competition, and once again truly global."
The Austrian double Olympic Tornado gold medallists, Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, will once again be leading Red Bull Sailing Team. Hagara commented: “I am looking forward to fighting together with my tactician Hans Peter Steinacher and our crew in 2013 for the trophy of this spectacular racing circuit. It will be a tough year, at beautiful and sometimes windy locations with the strongest sailors on the planet racing against each other. The level of racing is most probably the highest you can see in the world of sailing at the moment.”
Red Bull Sailing Team narrowly missed out on a podium place in 2012 finishing the season in fourth, and their experience will make them a firm pre-season favourite for a podium position in 2013.
Alinghi returns for their fourth season with Team Principal Ernesto Bertarelli on board as both skipper and helmsman. Best known for winning and then successfully defending the America’s Cup, Alinghi have also shown themselves to be multihull experts, having won the Extreme Sailing Series in 2008 and been a six time winner of Switzerland's leading event, the Bol d'Or Mirabaud in the D35 class.
2012 winning skipper Leigh McMillan is back at the helm of The Wave, Muscat. The former Olympic Tornado sailor, who a veteran of the Extreme Sailing Series having raced in it since 2006, won four of the seven events in 2012 and is hungry for more. He commented: “We are feeling very excited about putting together The Wave, Muscat again for this season and hope to continue with the same level of performance as last year. We are keeping the same core team to hopefully keep improving and maintain consistency and we are adding a new challenge with the introduction of a second Omani crew member on board and take him through the challenges of an Extreme 40. This is very exciting for us and we are confident that with that fresh challenge we will be a strong team.”
A second team representing Oman Sail will also be on the starting grid in Muscat, with details to be confirmed in February.
The dynamic Danish duo of Rasmus Kostner and Jes Gram Hansen return as co-skippers of SAP Extreme Sailing Team in what will be their second full year on the circuit. The team finished sixth in their debut season having gone through a steep multihull learning curve and are out to prove they can mix it up with the ‘top brass’ teams this year. “It will be great to come back to the Extreme Sailing Series for the second year running,” commented Kostner. “Last season was a big first year for us, we had some great racing and enjoyed the challenges that come with being a new team in this competitive fleet This season we are better prepared and have our sights set on the podium. We will carry forward with the lessons learnt from 2012 as well as continue to develop as a team. With the full support from SAP technology and our other partners we hope to get the competitive edge we need to take the next step onto the podium.”
The blue sails of GAC Pindar will be another familiar team on the start-line and the crew, which will be announced in early February, will be sure to come out all guns blazing as they aim for their first ever podium finish.
A new team for 2013 comes in the form of the second Swiss entry. The team sponsor will hold an official press conference to announce the entry and crew details on 8 February.
An invited team, ‘Team X – Invitational’, will provide a platform for a home team to compete at each of the eight events, in the way that sailing legend Torben Grael skippered Team Brasil in Rio last month. These individual event entries will be combined to make one overriding Series entry with details of each team to be confirmed before each respective event.
These teams will also face competition from several wildcard entries over the course of the year resulting in the starting grid being filled by 8 to 10 boats at all of the events this season. Some wildcard entry slots remain for new teams building towards a full 2014 season.
Speaking from Dusseldorf, Robert Stark, CEO of Marinepool spoke of their commitment to the Series until 2016. “Marinepool is proud partner of the Extreme Sailing Series and we are happy to announce that we have just renewed our contract until 2016. This underlines our belief in OC Sport’s excellent work and that the Extreme Sailing Series is the best series in the world.” Stark continued, “It has the global reach we are looking for, with venues in iconic cities from Muscat to Rio. The VIP experience is second to none. And it has a viable business model that also works for Marinepool on all levels. With the organizers, the host cities, Series partners, teams and their sponsors as well as in sales on site and online. It takes time to develop a merchandising line and make it work. Therefore you need a partner who has a clear plan for the future, is reliable and is delivering. Comparing with other sailing properties, we believe that the Extreme Sailing Series it the best product for teams, spectators and certainly in terms of return on investment.”
The official Marinepool Extreme Sailing Series merchandising range is sold at events, in Marinepool’s extensive network of retailers, and can be viewed online here. SAP, confirmed in 2012 as Official Technical Partner will continue to develop their technology alongside OC Sport over the three year partnership, while Official Logistics Partner GAC Pindar will continue to bring their expertise to what is a complex logistics operation.
Further Series and local event partners will be announced within the next month along with a full 2013 calendar to be confirmed on 31 January.