Team Russia joins the Extreme Sailing Series
OC Sport have today confirmed the 11th team on the starting grid for the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, the circuit's first ever Russian team.
The team will make its debut alongside some of the world’s best known sailing teams and sailors including Groupama Team France, Emirates Team New Zealand, The Wave, Muscat and J.P. Morgan BAR. The 2014 Notice of Race allows up to 10 teams with two wildcards at OC Sport's discretion. With the Russians now in, plus several of the single event wildcards already confirmed, including Team Aberdeen Singapore for the first event, the grid is almost full for the year.
Two Russian sailors will get their introduction to the world of elite level multihull racing, including 25-year-old London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Laser sailor and Russian national champion and RC44 skipper/tactician Igor Lisovenko (right). Lisovenko, who will skipper the team, commented: “This is both a challenge and an opportunity for me to become skipper and tactician of such a team, that for the first time will fly the Russian flag in such a highly competitive fleet. I wish to prepare and perform well for when we arrive at the St Petersburg event in June! But the level of the team members assures me that even the highest expectations are within our potential.”
The team's bowman will be Aleksei Kulakov, a 49er sailor, who has competed with Lisovenko on Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge in the RC44 class.
Gazprom Team Russia has drafted some of the Extreme Sailing Series’ most successful sailors, including Britain’s Paul Campbell-James, who steered The Wave, Muscat and then Luna Rossa to victories in the 2010 and 2011 Series respectively, as their helm.
Campbell-James will step back on to an Extreme 40 where he left off, in Singapore, where he won the final event of the year in 2011, and is itching to get back in the driving seat: “I don’t think anyone goes into it (the Extreme Sailing Series), not hoping they are going to win. The reality is that we’ll be a little bit on the back foot from event one having never seen the boat we are going to sail. I’m just so looking forward to going back out there racing and having 12 even boats. The Extreme 40s is always amazingly good fun. There is nowhere else in the world where you do eight races average and occasionally as many as 12. I can’t wait to go out there and start duking it out on what is undoubtedly going to be the best circuit in sailing.”
Alister Richardson, who has been part of three Extreme Sailing Series winning teams, including Basilica in the first season, before joining Luna Rossa’s challenge for the 34th America’s Cup, will be the team’s mainsail trimmer. And Pete Cumming, who was the 2009 Extreme Sailing Series winning skipper on The Wave, Muscat, and formally trimmer with the SAP Extreme Sailing Team, has been recruited as the teams’ headsail trimmer. SAP Extreme Sailing Team will reveal their final team line-up next Thursday.
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Mainsail trimmer: Alister Richardson (GBR)
Headsail trimmer: Peter Cumming (GBR)
Bowman: Aleksei Kulakov (RUS)