2018 Extreme Sailing Series™ Magazine

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Contents 2018 Extreme Guide

Images Mark Lloyd, Jesus Renedo, Vincent Curutchet, Dean Treml, HarryKH/INEOS Rebels UK Editorial Director Ed Gorman Editors Katie Welch, Christianne Whitehouse Writers Ed Gorman, Katie Welch, Christianne Whitehouse Contributors Susan Jacobs, James Boyd Designers Casey Byrne, Luisa Parsons, Tristan Stubbings Copyright OC Sport




An interview with Andy Tourell

Extreme Sailing Series™ vital stats

John Craig: A year in review

“We never stop looking at how we can improve the Extreme Sailing Series™”

A beginner’s guide to the Extreme Sailing Series

The view from the Race Director’s seat in the ultimate Stadium Racing championship




Adam Minoprio: Return of the king

Riding the wind at the Extreme Sailing Series™

Sailing the Mexican wave with Erik and the boys

James Boyd talks to the talented helmsman of SAP Extreme Sailing Team

“Peak performance, precision, and the teamwork of the best-in-class.”

How the Extreme Sailing Series™ is helping to raise the profile of sailing in Mexico




The Flying Phantom Series returns

Extremely Efficient: the onthe-water delivery team

Runners and Riders

The hydro-foiling double-handed pocket rockets zoom into 2018

The behind-the-scenes team of experts that keeps the Series running smoothly

The rundown on the men behind the machines in the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series™




Extreme Sailing Series™ VIP packages

Extreme Sailing Series™ host venues

2018 Extreme Sailing Series™ Venues

A level of hospitality like no other; a once-in-alifetime experience

Katie Welch looks at what makes the Extreme Sailing Series™ a global recipe for success

Pete Greenhalgh gives his insights into the iconic 2018 host venues

Andy Tourell WE NEVER STOP LOOKING AT HOW WE CAN IMPROVE THE EXTREME SAILING SERIES™ ED GORMAN ou’d expect the man in charge of the Extreme Sailing Series™ to be pretty fired up by the world’s most exciting sailing championship and Andy Tourell does not disappoint.

have seen it grow and continue to prosper as it begins its 12th year.

Tourell has been in the hot seat – as Extreme Sailing Series Event Director - for six years and can trace his first involvement with the Series back to 2011 when he was appointed Host Venue Manager.

Tourell is a sailor first and foremost with more than 150,000 miles at sea under his keel as crew and skipper of various offshore racing machines. But he is also a superb manager and organiser and has established an enviable track record of getting events off the ground and running smoothly for commercial partners, host venues and athletes.

A great ambassador for a pioneering sporting property that he has run for half its life, Tourell knows better than anyone else how the Series has developed and the pivotal moments that

A super-fit, 39-year-old, married, father of three who competes in amateur triathlon, Tourell is relishing “year 12.” He has no doubt it is going to be another hugely exciting tour round the


world, as the Extreme Sailing Series teams take on their third season in the super-fast and visually stunning GC32 foiling catamarans. Tourell says the top crews were quick in the GC32s from the start but the newer teams are now catching up and he reckons the competition is likely to be hotter this year than ever. “When we came into the GC32 there were some teams who were streets ahead of the others, but as the new teams are getting their time in the boats and cutting their teeth on what it takes to get the foiling cats around the shorter racecourse, I think you

are going to find tighter competition at the top of the leaderboard,” he predicts. “Some of the teams who were learning the ropes on the GC32s in 2016 and 2017 are really going to shine in 2018.”

next to the land, where people can sit and watch the action at close quarters, and innovations in race management like abandoning windwardleeward formats in favour of more exciting reaching starts and finishes.

So another great year in prospect with Tourell buoyed by the return of some exciting new venues, including San Diego in the United States and Los Cabos in Mexico, which proved very popular with race fans and sailors alike and lit up the second half of the 2017 championship. Alongside those are some well-established success stories like Cardiff and Muscat.

Tourell believes the best yardstick of how successful these innovations have been is the fact that other prestigious and historic events – like the America’s Cup and the Olympics – have taken their cue from the Extreme Sailing Series and adopted many of the key ingredients of a championship that has enjoyed World Sailing’s “Special Event Status” since 2007. “What we demonstrated to other events is that we were able to bring in a new format of more engaging, faster and higher octane racing without compromising the sporting integrity of it in any way,” says Tourell.

The Extreme Sailing Series has been around so long that it is easy to forget what a revolutionary proposition it represented in the eyes of a generally conservative sport when it first started back in 2007. At that stage, as Tourell explains, the idea of racing on short courses in a “stadium” setting was unheard of and controversial and many of the venues tried

Over the years, the race management and safety side of OC Sport’s delivery of the Series has continually evolved and Tourell

experienced team that runs it to a process of continued evaluation – asking himself and his colleagues: have we got the right venues, the right format and the right boats? In the case of the latter category, it is interesting that the America’s Cup – which is now based in New Zealand again – has moved back to monohulls, albeit foiling monohulls. Clearly the Extreme Sailing Series has played an important role as a proving ground for the world’s top multihull sailors during recent America’s Cup cycles which have featured multihulls, but Tourell does not see the Series now following suit. “We certainly won’t be moving to monohulls in reaction to what has happened in the America’s Cup,” he says. “At some point, we might ask ourselves whether we go to monohulls. But there is absolutely no intention to do that at the moment. We have committed to the GC32 and they are absolutely the right platform for

“we were able to bring in a new format of more engaging, faster and higher octane racing” out by the Series had never hosted any kind of sailing event – let alone high-performance professional multihull racing. “In the early days there was a certain element of risk involved because the Extreme Sailing Series was taking such a markedly different direction to the sport of sailing than had been seen before,” he says. “From within the industry there was certainly some resistance to what was viewed as a very commercially-driven concept – the short form – with its primary objectives of increasing the fan base of the sport, engaging with the public and delivering a return to partners.” The elements that purists did not like were almost all the aspects of the Extreme Sailing Series that have made it so effective as a new way of delivering sailing as a spectator experience – the short courses, the multiplicity of races, the positioning of racing areas right

is particularly proud of the way the Extreme Sailing Series has set new benchmarks for the management of high-performance professional multihull racing. In race management the Series has helped pioneer new rules which have been taken up elsewhere while the safety protocols are continually evolving. “With the safety programme, we never sit still,” says Tourell. “We never assume that we’ve got it absolutely right. As we have moved into foiling from the Extreme 40 displacement cats, the fast pace of the action, the proximity of it to the shore and the length of the racecourses means the safety component is amplified. But we’ve been setting the standard for the safety mechanisms that are in place for fast multihull racing and we have been helping other events work on best practice from what we’ve learnt.” Tourell says the key to all of this is never to stand still but to subject the Series and the

the Extreme Sailing Series sporting component and for the core concept which spans the guest experience and the media product as well.” Whatever the boats, the Series has been a great forcing house and testbed for the world’s top inshore grand prix sailors who learn the ropes with sailing’s ultimate Stadium Racing championship but also keep coming back for more after racing elsewhere – in the Cup or the Volvo Ocean Race or on the World Match Racing Tour. “I am incredibly proud of how diverse the Extreme Sailing Series teams and individual sailors are,” concludes Tourell. “They come from the pinnacle of our sport, from across all the various formats, but they continue to return which is testimony to the format of the Series. Yes, it is a proving ground but actually I think it is much more than that because the teams and individual sailors keep coming back.”



The GC32 has two sets of ‘foils’ that create lift like an aeroplane wing, allowing the hulls to fly up out of the water, reducing drag and increasing speed








1000s manoeuvering the GC32

Helm Mainsail Trimmer Headsail Trimmer Foil Trimmer Bowman/Floater




along for the ride






The fleet of identical boats compete on short, stadiumstyle courses close to the shore, putting spectators right at the heart of the action

2 5 6


GUEST SAILORS PER ACT The teams battle at seven events but only one can be crowned


The whole kit is packed into 17 x 40ft containers that are shipped from venue to venue

MEDIA The talented bunch who keep you informed: 1 Official photographer 13 Video cameras 3 Miles of cable 3 Onboard microphones 4 Camera operators 3 Video editors


Race Director Paramedic & rescue diver Umpires Mark layers Safety officer Highfield support RIBs powered by Honda engines



RACE DIRECTOR JOHN CRAIG REFLECTS ON HIS FIRST YEAR AT THE HELM OF THE EXTREME SAILING SERIES™ John, tell us what was the best moment of the season for you in 2017? It’s difficult to pick a single best moment, there’s been a lot. The final race of the entire 2017 Series was a highlight. Although we were up against it with our television commitments and had to create a shortened course, that last race had so much meaning to the overall championship. To have the local wildcard team, Team México, winning it, that felt pretty good. It was a great way to wrap things up on the last day of the season. What did you make of the other two new venues we visited last year, Barcelona and San Diego? The beauty of Barcelona is that, as a venue, it will just get better with the new marina that is being built there. The ability to activate in that area will be great. The commercial side of that event will become much more integrated and that will give the race weekend a much better feel. The racing was good. If you have a good sea breeze, it’s 12 knots and it’s good racing. San Diego was one of the best venues in terms of the location and set-up. We were lucky with the breeze. Were there some tricky days for you, when the breeze didn’t play ball, for example? All the Acts had challenges one way or another. In Madeira, we had one day when, in a period of half an hour, the wind would go through the full 360 degrees of a compass and it did that all day. Then in Barcelona we lost a day because of the sea state and breeze. There’s nothing you can do to control it, but it’s frustrating. The Acts that you enjoy are the ones where you get that harmony between the shore side activation, and the spectators and the TV, and you get some great racing in - San Diego was awesome for that. It must be interesting getting to know the sailors and working with them over a full season all over the world? One of the lessons or skills that I learnt from one of my mentors was the importance of communicating with the sailors, no matter

which regatta you are working at. That’s one of the skills I take pride in. I’m quite happy to have one of the guys come over and tell me what I’ve done right, or better yet what I’ve done wrong. Having the opportunity to go to all the regattas with these teams just strengthens these relationships. Nobody is scared to come up to me and share their opinion. They’re a very knowledgeable group and they’re out looking for the best racing that we can provide. They give us insights as to how to make that happen. As the season went on and that communication strengthened, it improved the events and improved my game. What do you make of the GC32s? Well, they provide an incredibly even platform for foiling competition at a high level, which makes the racing exciting. It’s one of a few onedesign foiling catamarans and, as a result, it’s a very good boat for the Extreme Sailing Series, for Stadium Racing and creating the best experience for guest sailing. Happy you took the job? I’m ecstatic! It’s been great, I’m happy I was given the opportunity. 2017 gave me the chance to develop and this year, my goal is to bring a little more expertise to the circuit, in the form of great race management technology that I’ve used previously. There are a lot of areas we can improve on, and we will continually strive to make the Series the best it can be. I’m looking forward to introducing some new concepts now that I have a year under my belt. Finally what are your expectations for 2018? The season ahead will be interesting. You have a group of boats that are really, really close. I think the competition will increase. Everybody has figured out the boat handling and the boat speed to a degree. I think there will be more gains in the tactical side than last year. I’m very much looking forward to a great season, learning some more, and hopefully moving the Series forward. Thanks John and best of luck for 2018!





JAMES BOYD It takes a lot to win the Extreme Sailing Series™. Like any sport comprising many, many races over the course of a season, consistency is vital. Last year, SAP Extreme Sailing Team podiumed at all but one event and, come the end of season tally, this was enough to finally break the Alinghi-Oman Sail stranglehold on the circuit; one or other of these two titans having claimed the overall title every year since 2012. After eight Acts straddling three continents, the Danish team, led by Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner, claimed the title just two points ahead of three-time winners, Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi. The Swiss were in turn just one point ahead of third-placed Oman Air. One factor contributing to their 2017 victory was a change of helmsman, with Adam Minoprio steering for seven Acts, missing only China. “It was really good of Jes to step aside and let me have a go – he is still very much involved in the team making sure that everything runs smoothly and coaching,” says Minoprio. New Zealand, from where 32-year-old Minoprio hails (despite his Italian-sounding name), is renowned for producing many of the world’s top sailors, notably Russell Coutts, Dean Barker and most recently Peter Burling in the America’s Cup as well as offshore legends such as Peter Blake, Grant Dalton and Mike Sanderson. Having grown up with his two elder brothers racing dinghies, Adam was the sailing star of his family from an early age, becoming the youngest ever Optimist National Champion aged 10. Two years later he represented New Zealand at his first international competition, the Optimist World Championship. In his teens he benefitted from further development with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Youth Training Program. Minoprio made his mark on the international stage in his 20s becoming highly proficient at the cut-throat discipline of match racing.

This two boat format is famously used in the America’s Cup, but its traditional proving ground is the World Match Racing Tour. Just one year after joining the Tour in 2009, Minoprio, at the tender age of 24, won the event to become the youngest ever Match Racing World Champion (beating former Oracle Team USA America’s Cup-winning skipper Jimmy Spithill, who claimed it when he was 25). Following this, Minoprio became hot property. In stark contrast to match racing, he was recruited to sail aboard Camper, the Emirates Team New Zealand-crewed entry in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. In the same round the world race three years later, he sailed with the Dutch Team Brunel for the final three legs. His services have also been in demand in the America’s Cup where he was signed up by Italian challenger Luna Rossa for Bermuda. When the Italians prematurely pulled the plug on their campaign, Minoprio was promptly scooped up by Groupama Team France, skippered by French offshore legend and former Extreme Sailing Series helm Franck Cammas. The short format and cut and thrust races of the World Match Racing Tour no doubt helped set up Minoprio for Stadium Racing in the Extreme Sailing Series. But thanks to his time with Luna Rossa and particularly Groupama Team France, Minoprio has also become one of the most talented helmsmen of the GC32 foiling catamaran used on the Extreme Sailing Series. Back in 2013 he had skippered a team to victory in the first ever GC32 event held on Lake Traunsee, successfully defending his title a year later with a Luna Rossa team. “Joining Team France we used the GC32 as a training boat, because they didn’t have any other foiling cats to sail,” says Minoprio. “I was very fortunate to get a lot of time on the GC32 which helped tremendously.” Throughout the build-up to last year’s America’s Cup, Minoprio was Franck Cammas’ match racing sparring partner as the French


team readied themselves for competition in their larger AC50 race boat. As a result he and Cammas have done more hours helming GC32s than any other sailors. Minoprio’s performance with SAP Extreme Sailing Team in 2017 amply demonstrates this. While ostensibly a laid-back Kiwi, Minoprio has a flair and intensity on the racecourse more becoming to his Italian name. However his skill has also come from hard graft. Time in the GC32 means Minoprio is instinctively on top of the different set-ups and techniques the tweaky catamaran requires to maintain optimum performance as wind and sea conditions change. However, any advantage the Kiwi skipper may have learned is waning: “A lot of that knowledge just came from training in the boat and learning what works and what doesn’t work. There are always a few different ways of doing things which have benefits and rewards. It is about where you want to have the benefits and compromises. Towards the end of last season, at Los Cabos, people were


sailing a lot more similarly, much more like we were with their crew set-ups. For example, a lot more people were doing foiling gybes with their Code Zeros up. That knowledge gap had definitely got smaller between teams.” Since leaving Bermuda, Minoprio has taken up another form of sailing: He bought a Beneteau Oceanis 46 cruising boat. He and his fiancé have cruised the boat from Europe all the way across to the Caribbean, from where they will take it through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific and back to New Zealand over a period of 18 months. This leisurely adventure is being punctuated by Minoprio having to find somewhere secure to leave his floating home as he jumps on a flight to wherever the latest Extreme Sailing Series event is. While it still involves being on a boat, his latest challenge is otherwise more relaxed. “The autopilot does all the driving - I just sit back and read a book! We’ve had a very fast

trip through Europe, taking in Sardinia, Sicily, Croatia, Greece, then Malta and the Canaries and the Atlantic – all the time trying to find marinas to squeeze into so that I could go off and do Extreme Sailing Series events - which was a challenge in itself.” At times his parents are stepping in - for example they are taking the boat through the Panama Canal, but there will be one occasion when his arduous cruising schedule is going to get in the way this season. “I’ll be doing all the events with SAP Extreme Sailing Team apart from the first European event. Unfortunately I’ll be on my way to French Polynesia then!” If the 2017 season was a three-way fight for first place Minoprio is looking forward to the competition intensifying still further in 2018. “In the past there have always been two teams fighting at the front but there could be as many as five this year. If that happens, it’s going to be awesome competition - we’ll see some tempers flare and some good action out on the water.”


RIDING THE WIND AT TH E EXTREME SAILING SERIES™ SUSAN JACOBS Imagine my surprise being invited to experience the Extreme Sailing Series™ catamaran regatta, knowing absolutely nothing about sailing. But there I found myself, surrounded by the manliest of men from around the globe, the cream of the crop, world-class Olympic athletes…sailors. No, not the Fleet Week white uniform kind; imagine lycra, chiselled bodies, and very handsome men who have dedicated their lives to the sport. Although I grew up on an island, the isle of Manhattan, sailing and boats were not a part of my life, unless the Staten Island ferry counts. Water activities like kayaking and snorkelling definitely had no appeal when comparing the East and Hudson rivers to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. So how better for such a sailing virgin to experience this sport than during an international catamaran race crewed up with sailing’s royalty, the best in show?

The Extreme Sailing Series is... Extremely fast, incredibly physical, tactical, balance-driven, and adrenaline-packed. It’s all about the manoeuvres, communication amongst the crew, and anticipating nature’s next move. These catamarans go twice the speed of the wind and after reaching several knots they’ll foil, which is basically the closest thing to flying on water. It’s a combination of science, strategy, skill, and Mother Nature’s mood. Think the grace and precision of ice-skating meets car racing,


bumper cars, tight rope walking, and a relay race/obstacle course, all morphing together, on the ocean. The hydro-foiling GC32 catamaran is ultra-light, fast, and highly responsive but very challenging for the five-man crew because of the brute strength that’s needed to balance while manoeuvring the 32ft boat which weighs upwards of 2,000lbs. The teams use identical catamarans on short courses, just metres from the shore, allowing spectators to be up-close-and-personal with the action from stadium-style seating. When nature cooperates, each of the seven-to-nine teams participate in six-to-eight races per day, for four days. Each race takes about 15 minutes and there’s an average of eight minutes rest in between. There’s more than a 20-year age difference across the teams, which provides a synergistic blend of stamina and wisdom. Each sailor is striving for that moment of Zen. “Being able to read the wind, what Mother Nature is throwing at us, and getting it right, while manoeuvring a massive machine and simultaneously being in harmony with the crew. That’s the pinnacle of sailing performance that everyone is shooting for,” said one sailor I spoke with. Clearly, the sailors are the rock stars getting all of the deserved attention, as they should for their Herculean abilities man-handling these boats. As one, however, who is always drawn to the untold stories, I wanted to know who was behind-the-scenes making sure the boats work.

This is a team sport with five sailors per boat, that all have to operate a machine, the GC32, in perfect harmony. That machine has to be nursed, nurtured, and triaged to ensure it can do all it was designed to. The only other competitive sports that come to mind with all of these elements are bobsledding and rowing – a team operating a machine and the technicians delivering it in perfect order. The Extreme Sailing Series is not your ordinary sailing event. Unlike most sailing competitions where the boats vanish off into the sunset, this racecourse covers a small patch of water close to the shore. The unique Stadium Racing format allows spectators to experience the action front-and-centre. This also means though, that the boats are racing on what amounts to an obstacle course, at great speeds. It’s no wonder some sailors consider it the Formula One of the ocean. I had no idea of how fast a knot was (the nautical version of miles-per-hour), let alone what the maximum speed of 39 knots the GC32s can reach felt like. A sailor told me it would be like sticking my head out of a car window in the rain doing about 45mph. Ouch, and no thanks, I’d rather experience that on a sailboat any day. Now imagine going 45mph not driving down a highway in the rain, but doing split-second manoeuvres near the shore, anticipating the wind shifts and your opponents’ and teammates’ moves, while trying to avoid a crash as you race to cross the finish line.

Part of the reason the GC32s can actually do all of this, aside from being extremely light and hypersensitive, is in the unique design of the J-foils, which work like an airplane wing to lift the hulls out of the water. This rapidly increases the speed and when the wind is just right, the boats actually fly on the water. So while going fast and trying to avoid accidents, the crew also has to perform a challenging balancing act as they trim the sails to keep the boat in the air. Did I mention the boats weigh just over 2,000lbs?! In a fraction of a second, a collision can happen causing slight or massive damage – from just a scratch, to ripped sails, broken rudders and foils, and all sorts of other technical problems needing immediate attention. The Extreme Sailing Series is a huge production and just the slightest blip in how things are supposed to go could literally make or break a team or an entire event; but given that this is a world-class series, there is always a back-up plan in place if things go wrong. Here’s a backstage peek…

Enter the shore crew The shore crew members are the unsung heroes. To them though, it’s just a normal day at work. To me as an outsider, it’s mind-blowing – the technical skill and physical strength required, attention to details and intricacies, focus, patience, and calm.


“It’s mind-blowing – the technical skill and physical strength required, attention to details and intricacies, focus, patience, and calm”

For in the Extreme Sailing Series, the team is only as good as the boat, which is only as good as the crew that ensures it can perform at its best, which is only as good as the people that make sure the boats arrive at a race. These are the pieces that must work together seamlessly. João Cabeçadas, Swiss team Alinghi’s shore crew member for almost 19 years says: “We have to provide a weapon, a tool that’s able to win, and then it’s up to the team to do their best. We can make them fail if something doesn’t work right or goes wrong — a board doesn’t go up as quick or as well as it should, then there is nothing the sailors can do to recover from that.” A top shore crew is critical and without one the teams couldn’t function; they’re behind-the-scenes, but never forgotten or under-appreciated.

How it works At the beginning of an event, the shore crew has to reassemble the boat after it arrives by container from the previous venue. They rebuild it, put the sails on, and service all of the moving parts, making sure every component is operating in peak condition. The boats are assembled several days before racing starts so the sailors can practice and make sure all is good.

water for the next day’s race. They’ll work through the night, and sometimes for days with little sleep, depending on the severity of the damage. What seems like just a small scratch to us mere mortals, or an extra layer of paint that didn’t get sanded, actually has an impact on how the boat can perform and hydrofoil. A little scratch could be a three-hour repair job.

Different strokes for different folks Each team has a different configuration of shore crew. Alinghi, which won the Extreme Sailing Series in 2008, 2014, and 2016, has two shore crewmembers. Another serious contender in both the Extreme Sailing Series and on the world stage of sailing is Oman Air. On their team of seasoned professional sailors, one of their three-person shore crew is Hilal Al Zadjali, a graduate of the Oman Sail programme. It’s the team’s goal to mix in the next generation of sailors and technical support crew to these major competitions. Hilal first learned to sail in 2009 and says: “The Oman Sail program gives me real pride in myself and my country. It doesn’t matter that they’re racing and I’m the shore crew, I feel that I contribute. When we win we share the pleasure, when we don’t we are there for each other.”

When the racing begins, the shore crew is on the team RIB (a zip-adee fast motorboat) with a tool kit and spare parts, in case anything happens that can be dealt with quickly on the water. If more serious damage is done, the boat is taken out of the water for repairs in the technical area. If a boat capsizes, the shore crew are the first responders, along with the event’s water safety team.

So, on both the shore and the water, the Extreme Sailing Series is all about peak performance, precision, and the teamwork of the best-in-class.

But where they really shine is when there’s a big collision and they have to make repairs overnight so the boat can be back in the

A version of this article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Susan can be found at: https://www.clippings.me/sjacobs


If you ever have the opportunity to go for a sail or just watch this event, don’t miss out on the amazing experience. I promise, it’s worth it!







Mexico is steeped in history, rich in culture and has breathtaking scenery. It is renowned for its colourful traditions and surrounded by beautiful blue waters, with both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico lapping at its stunning coastline. Yet despite a vast population and the recreational opportunity of having two incredible coastlines on either side, Mexico’s involvement in competitive sailing has historically been somewhat limited. Enter Team México – a wildcard entry in Act 8 of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series™ - and returning to the fight this year. Led by two of Mexico’s best sailors, it is skippered by Erik Brockmann - a J70 World Champion and once ranked in the top-10 in the world in the Optimist class - with J70 sailor Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro on the bow.


On a mission to raise the profile of sailing among the Mexican people, these guys have goals that go beyond a podium finish. “Danel and I are always talking about how we can make this experience in the Extreme Sailing Series reach the most people in Mexico, and take effect,” explained skipper Brockmann. “There are only a couple of us

here at the event, but there are many ways that we should be able to make this project reach its pinnacle.” Mexico’s involvement with the Extreme Sailing Series began in 2017 with the introduction of Los Cabos as a host venue. Located on the Baja peninsula, the stunning Mexican municipality made its debut hosting the season’s grand finale, treating sailors and fans alike to four days of stunning sailing against a beautiful backdrop. Thousands of visitors flocked to the race village to support the sport and the local team in Mexico, showing big potential for the future. Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller, Team México Commercial Manager, feels strongly about Mexico’s involvement in sailing and is delighted that the Extreme Sailing Series has found a home there. “It’s important not only for the sport of sailing in Mexico, but for the country, to be involved in major sporting events all around the world. It’s great that Mexico is now involved in the top level of the sport - for the sailing community, but also for our identity,” he said.


Following the success of the team and Los Cabos as a venue in 2017, we have gained the support of the country and the momentum needed to enable us to continue to showcase what we can do on and off the water.” Bringing competitive sailing to the forefront of Mexican society hasn’t been an easy ride.

“Sailing in our country is still quite small, but we’re getting there,” Brockmann explains. “The main problem is that a lot of people live inland in Mexico City, so we have limited options when it comes to getting out on the water.” Brockmann has one of two choices when it comes to sailing in his home country – either to head to Lake Avándaro almost two hours away, or to make his way to the coast, a lengthy four-hour drive from home. Still, he remains steadfast on his mission to raise the profile of sailing in Mexico. “The idea of this team is that we want to get sailing into the heads of everyone at home,” he continues. “We have great places for sailing on both sides of the Mexican coast. We want to have local people involved in all the amazing sailing venues, and they should be the best sailors in Mexico.” Although they grew up in a society where competitive sailing was a minority activity, the impact made by the sport on the lives of Brockmann and Fierro has been colossal. “Sailing has been a family tradition on both sides of my family,” Fierro reminisces. “It was

handed down to me and my brother from our parents and grandparents. We learnt to sail on a lake near Mexico City. Since then I’ve wanted to do nothing more than sail, from Optimists all the way up to the Extreme Sailing Series. “So this is a whole new level of competition for me,” he continues. “I started racing a little bit more competitively in the Laser

class when I was younger, but I still sailed dinghies and then went into J70s, J24s and big boats with offshore and inshore racing. As for foiling – well, my first experience was on a Moth but not in a race, just sailing around for fun. Then I foiled on a foiling board, but my first proper foiling experience was in Los Cabos in the Extreme Sailing Series. This ride has been something I can’t put into words.” As relative newcomers to the circuit, the team has much to learn. But Brockmann is confident they can achieve great results, looking at the Series as an ongoing process with an end goal, rather than each Act as a one-off event. “It’s a totally new boat for us, but we’ve secured some experienced sailors,” said Brockmann. “What we have is a mix of Mexican and international crew (Tom Phipps, Alex Higby and Tom Buggy). The idea is that in the future, as we get more experienced, we will introduce another Mexican to the team. We’re keen to do as much for Mexico as we can, whilst still managing to be as competitive as we can. The work seems to be going well – as the season continues, we’ll just get better and better.

“THIS WILL HAVE AN IMPACT NOT ONLY ON OUR TEAM, BUT ON EVERY MEXICAN SAILOR – WE’RE DOING THIS FOR MEXICO.” “We have quite a different approach this year,” he added. “Our dream has always been to be here, but last year we saw it as a one-week event. This time we’re starting to look ahead to the rest of the season. We’re gearing up for the future and the longer term results.” “We have to improve every day,” adds Fierro. “The learning curve has been exponential. We’re competing against experienced teams that have been in the Series for a long time – it’s hard to be at their level.” Still, you have to look at the best and learn from the best to be the best. With some of the world’s top sailors as their competitors, Team México need not invent things themselves. Brockmann believes his team is in the best possible place to

develop the skills needed to secure a place on the Series podium in the future. “We have incredible sailors right next to us, there’s no better way to reach their level than to race against them. Hopefully, event by event, we’ll be closer to them,” he said. “We know we can be at the top in some races but it’s more about consistency. The consistent teams are the ones that win; they come back from being fifth to being third because they make one small change to their set-up. It’s so competitive that all those little changes make a big difference.” For Erik and Danel, the Extreme Sailing Series has already been a huge stepping stone in their careers.

“It is a dream come true,” Brockmann admits. “I remember watching videos of the Extreme Sailing Series and seeing how amazing the sailing was. At that time, it felt like a different world. Mexico has never really been involved in these kinds of competitions. We’re here now and it’s amazing. A lot of work has been done but there’s still a lot of work ahead.” Fierro agrees: “Sometimes I still wake up and I can’t believe we’re here. We’ve been amazed by the support we’ve received from the whole of Mexico. I think this is a great motivation, not only for us but for the whole country as well. This will have an impact not only on our team, but on every Mexican sailor – from Optimists to the Olympic classes to big boats. We’re doing this for Mexico.”


thE flying phantom series returns 28

Following a show-stopping debut at the European Extreme Sailing Series™ Acts in 2017, the international fleet of spectacular two-man catamarans is back for a five-Act season in 2018. Once again the Flying Phantom Series is taking flight alongside the GC32 Stadium Racing, boosting the hydrofoiling line-up of the ultimate Stadium Racing championship. This international fleet of pocketrocket catamarans offers hair-raising entertainment as the teams battle on stadium-style courses close to shore. Thrills and spills are guaranteed.

Flying Phantom 2018 Series Acts 1





Muscat, Oman 14 - 17 March

Quiberon Bay, France 18 - 21 May

Barcelona, Spain 14 – 17 June

CASCAIS, Portugal 5 – 8 July

Cardiff, UK 24 – 27 August





EXTREMELY EFFICIENT: THE ON-THE-WATER DELIVERY TEAM ED GORMAN Like any sporting event, whether on land or at sea, the Extreme Sailing Series™ relies on a behind-the-scenes team of experts who ensure that the racing runs smoothly, safely and on time, wherever in the world the sport’s ultimate Stadium Racing championship is staged. Over the years, OC Sport which created, owns and manages the Extreme Sailing Series, has gathered together some of the very best and most competent people – whether they be logistics staff, umpires and race management experts or meteorologists. Together they help run an event which has set new standards in the delivery of highspeed, close-to-shore multihull racing. At an Extreme Sailing Series Race Village or watching online, what you mainly notice are the sailors and the boats, which is how it should be because they are the stars of the show. What is not so obvious is the team that sets the constantly changing racecourses each day, that helps run the racing alongside the Race Director and that provides the on-the-water safety and medical back-up in case of an accident. Rich Bell, formerly a sailor in the Royal Navy and now a specialist in providing medical support in remote and challenging sporting or adventuring environments, has been leading the medical and safety support team at the Extreme Sailing Series for the last two years. He has no doubt that

the behind-the-scenes team is at the same elite level as the sailors doing the racing. “It’s great, it’s absolutely brilliant,” he said, when asked for his impressions of the Extreme Sailing Series. “It’s fun, it’s dynamic, it’s professional and there are some incredible people on the circuit with incredible talent. Away from the racers – we’ll take their skills for granted – the team that work for OC Sport at the Extreme Sailing Series are at the top of their game and most of them are only in their early 30s, but they are really competent people who keep driving forward.”

“We have to put on a show, regardless of what else is happening.” Bell’s main role is as an on-the-water medic and first responder in the event of an incident in which sailors may be injured or require assistance, for example after a capsize. He is always close at hand, following the foiling catamarans in a custom Highfield RIB. “When we are on the water, if an incident happens we respond to it and we are the first call for whatever goes wrong,” he said. “If there is an injury, then I will go aboard the catamaran and start to fix whatever that injury might be and administer care. It has

never happened, but if there was a capsize and somebody was stuck in the water, then I can dive under a boat if we go into rescue and recovery mode,” he added. Bell has never had to deal with a serious situation but he is constantly contributing to a collective assessment process of the risks to improve the way safety on the water is managed. This is especially so in the foiling era when boats are travelling faster than ever and with appendages in the water – foils and rudders - that can be highly dangerous if the on-water activity is not managed correctly. “So far it’s been relatively minor in terms of the incidents that have occurred but what we have been able to do is use our experience and look at what might happen and develop our risk management processes around those eventualities,” he said. A big part of that is the constant updating and training of staff, sailors and volunteers on safety. “We continually upgrade our risk assessments making sure people are aware of any new dangers or new risks that have come up, that are venue-specific, or changes in best practice,” said Bell. “We work tirelessly to ensure crews wear life jackets, not just racers but support crews and chase boat crews as well. We look after the umpires too and make sure they have enough safety kit.”


Driving Bell around the racecourse is safety boat driver and Assistant Race Director Ian “Fiddy” Fiddaman, a former lifeboatman from the English south coast, who has worked at the Extreme Sailing Series since its inception in 2007. Fiddy is there to help respond to emergencies and to help get boats back on their feet after capsizes. During racing Fiddy is in constant contact with Race Director John Craig. They discuss the layout of the racecourse and changing conditions – changes in wind strength or direction and the tide – and when, for example, the point is reached at which, on safety grounds, it is decided not to have guests on board the catamarans during races. “We are constantly talking on the radio,” he said. “We will talk between races and during them too because it is so important to get the details right which is the key to running an absolutely fantastic regatta.”

Compared to most sailing events, the Extreme Sailing Series features far more races in a day, on much shorter racecourses which require constant alteration as conditions change. What’s more, many of the venues are not traditional sailing settings and can, for example, feature huge changes in water depths which make it difficult to place buoys that need to be anchored to the seabed.

“It’s fun, it’s dynamic, it’s professional and there are some incredible people on the circuit.”

Fiddy, aged 53, loves working on the Series and wouldn’t miss it for the world. “It still gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing up every time,” he said. “With the GC32s there are more challenges now but we have the best seats in the house at the best sailing series. It’s just absolutely fantastic to be honest with you.”

“The whole course is dynamic all the time,” said Palmer, aged 53, who lives on the Isle of Wight in southern England where OC Sport still retains its founding office. “We are always moving things around to try and make things as fair as we can on the race track. Then obviously we have to think of the spectators and what they are able to see and we try to get the action as close as we can to the spectators, without having the boats driving up the beach.”

Another key figure on the water is Rich Palmer, the Extreme Sailing Series Mark Layer, and another Assistant Race Director, whose job it is to lay out the buoys that set the courses. Normally in sailing this is a fairly straightforward job but there is nothing “normal” about the Extreme Sailing Series.

Palmer has developed his own techniques and accumulated his own kit that moves around the world with him to deal with the issue of depth at some venues. “We use inflatable buoys with five-kilo anchors and a combination of chain and then lots of rope,” he explained. “To give you an idea,


at Cardiff in Wales we work in five metres of water whereas at Los Cabos in Mexico we did the same thing in 230 metres – it’s an exceptional process and it is not unusual for me to move up to 35 marks in one day.” Like Fiddy and Bell, Palmer is in constant touch with Race Director John Craig and he says that, together, the team works seamlessly, sharing opinions and anticipating and solving problems. “We all think about the same sorts of things and we all contribute our own thoughts on what we should do,” he said. “Often we don’t have the luxury of being able to wait for a stable breeze or stable conditions because at the Extreme Sailing Series we always have spectators there, we have guest sailors to get through the programme and we have television coverage to sync with – so we have to put on a show, regardless of what else is happening.” Everyone who works on the water at the Extreme Sailing Series agrees that the team is operating close to its optimum level in terms of delivery of racing and safety. But there is no complacency and there is always more to learn, as Fiddy points out. “I’d say the team deals with the challenges posed by this event very, very well and the reason being is that if anybody’s got any doubts about something, then we’ll discuss it and they will get listened to and it will get sorted out – that’s the most important thing.”





As the world’s elite sailors board their hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans for the 12th Extreme Sailing Series™ we give you the rundown on the men behind the machines in this year’s challenge.


Alinghi 5






hree-time Extreme Sailing Series™ victors Alinghi return once again, helmed by Swiss multihull champion Arnaud Psarofaghis, alongside Team Principal and skipper Ernesto Bertarelli. The pair are backed up by a team of highly accomplished crew with multiple Bol d’Or and D35 trophies to their name – a winning line up, remaining the same this year as last. The team’s eighth Extreme Sailing Series will feature Olympic 470 bronze medallist Nicolas Charbonnier as tactician, with Nils


Frei – who first competed onboard Alinghi in 2001 – continuing his role as headsail trimmer. Alinghi veteran Yves Detrey takes the bow whilst Timothé Lapauw – the youngest member of the team and a highly skilled match racer – completes the crew, having helped Alinghi toward their Extreme Sailing Series victory in 2016. Ready to make some serious waves, Alinghi will be looking to snatch back their title after narrowly missing out on the top spot in 2017. Expect a fight to the end.

“It’s going to be a tough year. There’s a big mix of teams everyone is really strong and you have to fight for each point. It’s a long season and I think it’s going to come down to Act 8, Los Cabos.” Arnaud Psarofaghis







ome of the UK’s hottest sailing talent is set to race under the British flag in 2018 as an impressive new team of ambitious sailors steps up to the plate. Three-time Extreme Sailing Series™ champion Leigh McMillan returns to the circuit as helm for INEOS Rebels UK, hoping to draw on his extensive experience of the Series to propel his team of young pros to victory. Will Alloway takes on the role of skipper and trimmer for 2018, competing in his third

year on the Extreme Sailing Series scene. Fellow Brit Adam Kay also returns to the fray, gunning for a podium finish following two seasons competing in the Series in 2016 and 2017. The pair are accompanied by Oli Greber on the bow and Mark Spearman on the mainsail – both also boasting prior Extreme Sailing Series experience. Young guns learning from their experienced helm, the Brits are strong contenders and the podium is well within reach. These boys are a force to be reckoned with.

“The level of competition is going to be really high this year, perhaps the highest standard we’ve seen on the circuit in a long time. Everyone has to be consistent over the season when it’s such a strong fleet.” Leigh McMillan






fter a third place podium finish in 2017, the Omani outfit plans on climbing the ranks in this year’s Series. Match racing world champion Phil Robertson returns to the helm of Oman Air for a second time, determined to lead his accomplished team to victory in 2018.

competitor of all time. Stewart Dodson takes the headsail, having moved to the Omani squad this year from Austrian challenger Red Bull Sailing Team. Omani Nasser Al Mashari mans the bow, with Aussie James Wierzbowski on the foils, both seasoned professionals on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit.

Mainsail trimmer for the team is Pete Greenhalgh, an Extreme Sailing Series™ veteran who has competed on the circuit since 2007. Having clocked a total of four Series wins, Greenhalgh is the most successful Extreme Sailing Series

Kickstarting the season on home waters in Muscat, the team will be pulling no punches in their quest to knock SAP Extreme Sailing Team off the top of the podium. They won’t go down without a fight.


“We are pumped and ready for the fight in 2018. It’s going to take a lot of focus and commitment to win this year but we’re a determined bunch. Let the battle commence.” Phil Robertson









ed by double Olympic gold medallists Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, Austrian challenger Red Bull Sailing Team introduces some impressive new faces for the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series™. Two-time America’s Cup sailor Chris Draper takes the helm in the team’s ninth season on the circuit, aiming to leverage his superior knowledge of foiling to propel the team through the ranks.

Scotsman Neil Hunter joins the crew on the foils, following a stint in the America’s Cup with Land Rover BAR. He’s accompanied by British sailor and fellow America’s Cup competitor Ed Powys. With Powys and Hunter both boasting Extreme Sailing Series experience, these guys know the ropes. The line-up is completed by former 49er sailor Rhys Mara (AUS) and 2016 World Match Racing Tour winner Dan Morris (USA).

Backing him up is a new crop of accomplished sailors, determined to secure a podium finish.

This tenacious team means business. A formidable opponent.

“We all think that the expertise of Hans Peter and myself, along with Chris’ outstanding skills and the talent of our new young crew members, should be a very successful combination.” Roman Hagara








aving emerged triumphant in 2017, SAP Extreme Sailing Team returns for another epic on-the-water battle. Skippered by World Match Racing Tour champion Rasmus Køstner, the Danish squad heads into their seventh Series in 2018, hungry for their second consecutive win on the circuit. Kiwi Adam Minoprio returns to the helm, bringing with him an impressive CV of racing accolades, including podium finishes in the World Match Racing Tour, Volvo Ocean Race and the pinnacle – a victory in last year’s


Extreme Sailing Series™. He’s accompanied by three-time America’s Cup sailor Pierluigi de Felice as headsail trimmer, with British foiling superstar Richard Mason on the bow. Swedish Youth America’s Cup sailor Julius Hallström completes the crew this year.

“This year’s line up is going to

Frequently locked in a struggle for the podium top spot with Swiss counterparts Alinghi, the Danish-flagged syndicate will be pushing the boundaries on the racecourse from the get go, determined to secure the coveted Series title once again.

team. Consistency is what will win

make for some great racing. The competition is going to be tough. To stay ahead, we’re going to have to make sure we’re the most consistent the Series.” Adam Minoprio

TEAM MéxIco 4 5

2 1 3


wildcard entry in Act 8 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2017, Team México returns once again. Led by some of Mexico’s best sailing talent, Erik Brockmann - a J70 World Champion and once ranked in the top-10 in the world in the Optimist - takes up post as skipper, with Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro on the bow. The Mexican pair are complemented by a British crew - Tom Phipps, formerly of the Olympic British Sailing Team, takes the helm, with Alex Higby and Tom Buggy trimming the mainsail and headsail respectively.

Having exceeded expectations on home waters last year, securing maximum points in the final race in last year’s grand finale in Los Cabos, the Mexican-flagged squad are looking to continue their fighting form into the 2018 Series.

“We have some clear long term

On a mission to grow the sport of sailing in Mexico, these guys are full of ambition and drive. Competing against Olympic gold medallists, World Champions and America’s Cup winners this year, this team is one to watch.

as the season goes on, we’re just

objectives. We want to be as competitive as we can and we know that we can get those podium finishes. The work is going well and going to get better and better. “ Erik Brockmann




The Extreme Sailing Series™ offers a level of hospitality like no other, affording guests the opportunity to engage with the event at different levels. From watching the racing from the Extreme Club - the best seat in the house - to delivering an adrenaline-pumping, heart-thumping Guest Sailor ride on board a super-fast hydro-foiling GC32 catamaran, the Extreme Sailing Series VIP packages are truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At the heart of every Extreme Sailing Series Race Village is the VIP Extreme Club, where both guests and sailors gather to enjoy the event in style. With unrivalled views of the racing, five-star all day catering, an open bar, exclusive entertainment and behind-the-scenes access, it promises to deliver a memorable day. As part of a VIP package with the Extreme Sailing Series, guests will be given the opportunity to join the Sailors on the dock for a technical boat tour of the GC32, hear insights from the previous day’s racing from Skippers, Umpires and the Race Director, and have the opportunity to get close to the on-water action with a RIB ride. Want to get even closer to the action? The Series also offers Guest Sailing packages, ranging from jumping on-board a GC32 for a hands-on morning practice experience,

to joining the teams for a live race, akin to riding with a Formula 1 driver. Both unforgettable experiences are suitable for sailors of all levels - from novices to pros. With the Series having hosted everyone from supermodels to musicians and athletes, these VIP packages are held in high regard. US Pro-skier and Olympic gold medallist Jonny Moseley tried his hand onboard a GC32 in Act 7, San Diego, last year. “I had never experienced foiling and I was pumped to get a shot at it. I was blown away by the sheer power and acceleration I experienced.” “It was amazing to experience the racing and how effortless the sailors make it all seem,” added supermodel, actress and TV presenter Rachel Hunter, who also boarded the GC32 foiling machine in San Diego. “The speed is just crazy. An amazing experience and an exhilarating feeling!” Prices for the VIP packages range from €300 to €850 dependent on your chosen level of hospitality (Silver, Gold or Platinum). Corporate hospitality for groups is also available, and bespoke packages can be offered. To discuss a corporate or bespoke package and the prices associated, please contact the Extreme Sailing Series Guest Experience team: guestexperience@extremesailingseries.com


Crowds watch the racing in Barcelona during Act 4 of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series™


extreme sailing series tm host venues - a global recipe for success KATIE WELCH

he Extreme Sailing Series™ visits remarkable venues all over the world every year, each one offering the sailors and sponsors unique benefits and challenges, but why do places in countries as far apart as Mexico, Russia or Oman love the world’s only Stadium Racing championship?

“The Extreme Sailing Series was the most successful event that we hosted in 2017 by far because of the awareness it raised, the profile of the event, and the excitement it brought. Independent research on the main events we funded last year showed that it had the highest return on investment,” he added.

We asked representatives from our family of host venues for their views on why they regard the Extreme Sailing Series as too good an opportunity to miss as a prestigious sporting event, as a vehicle to promote their city globally and as a platform for local and national sponsors.

Esponda explained how the Series plays a strategic role in plans to expand the Mexican municipality as a tourist destination: “We are currently negotiating to have a non-stop flight from London to Los Cabos in 2019 to open the UK and European markets, where the Series has a huge following. The US has been the main market for Los Cabos for quite some time and we need to diversify, so the objective is how we connect the Series with travel partners to develop new markets.”

The beautiful resort of Los Cabos on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula joined the Extreme Sailing Series roster last year and proved an instant hit with sponsors, sailors and spectators. A premium holiday destination with growing appeal in Europe, Los Cabos already hosts other major sports events including an IRONMAN triathlon and the world’s largest fishing championship, Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tournament. Rodrigo Esponda, General Director of Tourism at Los Cabos Trust, says the way the Extreme Sailing Series engages its audience both in the Race Village and through Guest Experience sailing opportunities, makes the event a winner for the resort. “It’s a very exciting tournament that everybody can appreciate, in contrast with sport fishing and IRONMAN, where you can watch the action at a specific point but then it’s out of sight. In those events there are very few touch points with the community, the spectators and tourists,” he said.

The opportunity for Los Cabos to associate with prestigious brands that sponsor the Extreme Sailing Series is another plus-point. “Having such prestigious brands associated with the Extreme Sailing Series has reinforced Los Cabos’ position as one of the world’s top tourism destinations. It opens a door to showcase Los Cabos as a unique and exclusive destination,” Esponda commented. In Barcelona the Extreme Sailing Series has quickly established itself as an event that suits an iconic port city with ambitions to make more of its relationship with the sea. Xosé-Carlos Fernández, the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Ocean sailing in Barcelona (FNOB), which promotes seafaring activity in the city, was delighted that the Series staged its first event there in 2017.


“No doubt it was a success and for that reason there will be a second time this year,” he said. “Frankly what is strange is that the Series had not been held before in Barcelona. Through the Extreme Sailing Series, Barcelona gains an event that is in perfect harmony with its character as a port city, open to the sea and the world.” Fernandez also makes the point that the Extreme Sailing Series is the perfect partner to Barcelona’s other main sailing event, the two-handed Barcelona World Race. “Thanks to the Extreme Sailing Series, we keep the people of Barcelona connected to the emotion of sailing in a direct, democratic and accessible way,” he said. “An event of the characteristics of the Extreme Sailing Series serves perfectly not only to draw the attention of the Barcelona public once again towards water sports

in the years prior to our star regatta, the Barcelona World Race, but to generate activity in the nautical sector, which is vital for the city,” he added. In Cardiff on the western edge of Great Britain, meanwhile, the Extreme Sailing Series is viewed as a key asset in the Welsh capital’s ambition to establish itself among the elite waterfront destination cities of the world, as Peter Bradbury, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure explained. “Our experience of hosting the Extreme Sailing Series has raised the profile of Cardiff Bay as a sailing destination, showcasing Cardiff as a leading waterfront city alongside international destinations


such as Sydney, San Diego and Barcelona,” he said.

you can increase the engagement because you build on the spectator numbers.

“Cardiff has established itself as a major sporting event city and the Extreme Sailing Series is another string to our bow. As well as boosting the local economy and attracting big brands, the event utilises the waterfront, raising Cardiff’s profile as a destination to enjoy and to experience world class sailing and competitive water sports.”

“You can also learn what works and what doesn’t,” he continued. “We now have a fantastic relationship with all the stakeholders in Cardiff and they are quite aggressive in the way they maximise the opportunity and potential presented by the Series, because, of course, we are far more than just what is happening on the water; we have touchpoints that can achieve a lot of different goals for a lot of different people.”

Cllr Bradbury knows that his venue is a popular one with sailors and spectators alike, while also drawing in an international audience to his city online and through broadcast coverage of the racing. “The Extreme Sailing Series appeals to a global audience and has attracted up to 90,000 visitors over the race weekend,” he explained.

“As well as providing the perfect viewing spot for visitors to see the action up close, the event also offers a free-to-enter Race Village, live music and food and drink stalls, ensuring there is something for everyone. Crews love coming to Cardiff because the crowds get so close to the action, and you can hear their cheers and gasps as they watch intense competition on some challenging waters.” Extreme Sailing Series Commercial Director, Scott Over, who helps select venues for the championship all over the world, says Cardiff has built a strong relationship with the Series: “People come to Cardiff Bay over the bank holiday weekend because they know that the Extreme Sailing Series will be there,” he said. “If you have that continuity, year-on-year,

Scott is always looking for new venues to add to the Extreme Sailing Series roster and he knows the sort of positive impact the event can have, even on some of the world’s most prestigious cities, like Barcelona, St Petersburg or San Diego: “If you look at the cities we

engage with, they are massive names, many are Olympic cities. There are a lot of qualities about these cities that others want to be associated with. Those Olympic cities - Sydney, Qingdao, Rio and Barcelona – all have legacy plans that they need to deliver,” he said. “Many have bodies of water that they don’t always utilise, but we are able to drop a major sporting event into one of their best pieces of real-estate and, in doing so, showcase that city in a very different way to a marathon or an American football game,” he added. Scott Over, Extreme Sailing Series Commercial Director, can be contacted at: scott.over@ocsport.com.


Your guide to the iconic, exciting and beautiful cities that are hosting the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series with four-times Series champion Pete Greenhalgh.





M US C AT , OM A N 14 - 17 MARCH R I C H I N C U LT U R E A N D A R A B I A N C H A R M

Where can I watch the racing? The fleet will race in front of Al Mouj Golf course. What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC+4. What will the weather be like? Muscat has a hot, arid climate and you can expect temperatures of 20-30°C in March. Be sure to pack sun cream and cool clothing. What should I see and do while I’m there? Muscat is full of hidden treasures. For a taste of Arabian culture visit the Mutrah Souq along the city’s stunning Mutrah Corniche waterfront. The traditional market is packed full of colourful stalls selling trinkets,


antiques and exotic spices, promising an extraordinary experience. Or, if you are looking for adventure, head for Wadi Ban Awf and Snake Canyon and expect to be charmed by the beautiful and awe-inspiring landscape of the rugged and vast wadis. What traditional delicacies should I try? Shuwa – a dish of slow-cooked marinated lamb or goat with rice – is considered a national Omani food. For a sweet treat, try Halwa, a staple of the Omani dessert table. Something special? Look out for the giant incense burner seated high on the Mutrah hillside in Al Riyam park. It is a scaled-up replica of traditional

mabkhara that are used in homes to ward off evil spirits. Pete Greenhalgh’s verdict: “When Muscat delivers, it really delivers. The last day of the event in 2017 was probably the most amazing day of sailing we’ve had on the circuit to date, with 20 knots of wind combined with a challenging sea-state. We had glorious sunshine and it made for phenomenal sailing conditions. Muscat is a beautiful venue with amazing scenery and the spectators are able to get a really good view of the racing. It’s off the scale as a tourist destination; if you go exploring it’s amazing how many beautiful and remote places you can find. The wadis are up there as one of the best things to visit.”



The GC32 World Championship sees the Extreme Sailing Series™ and GC32 Racing Tour fleets combine and provides the second scoring stage of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series. Where can I watch the racing? The fleet will race off the northern shore of Lake Garda. What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC+2

adrenaline-junkies. If you are not afraid of a challenge, take on the steep walk to the Bastione, a chalk-white castle that clings precariously to the cliffs above the town. It’s worth it just for the view. To be blown away by the awesome power of nature, pay a visit to Cascata del Varone, a thundering 100m waterfall. Be sure to take your raincoat!

What will the weather be like? The weather should be warm during the day, with an average temperature of 17°C, but be prepared for rain.

What traditional delicacies should I try? The regions surrounding the lake are renowned for their light and delicate extra virgin olive oil, which perfectly complements the freshwater fish from the lake. Ideally your meal is accompanied by the excellent wine produced in local vineyards.

What should I see and do while I’m there? The landscape of Riva del Garda and the surrounding area provides a natural playground with activities for all, from a relaxing swim in the lake, to climbing or canyoning in the mountains for

Any interesting facts? Lake Garda is famed for its lemons, which are used to make limoncino liqueur, lemon custards and sweets. Lemons were introduced to Lake Garda in the 13th century and lemon-houses were built with high


walls and roofs to protect the trees from the cold north-easterly wind. The distinctive structures can still be spotted today. Pete Greenhalgh’s verdict: “You’ve got a fairly consistent weather pattern which is only disrupted by storms that roll in. This means you often have a favoured side of the racecourse and because of that it makes it one of the most challenging venues for the sailors. Getting off the startline is going to be fundamental. The racecourse is going to be bigger which means you get away with less boat handling and it comes down to more straight-line speed and decision making. I would expect pretty strong winds in the afternoons which will be epic. It’s probably one of the most jaw-dropping venues because of the mountains around the lake. It’s beautiful, the hospitality is wonderful, the food is amazing. It’s a spectacular venue and when you add these boats to the mix, it’s going to be pretty special.”


BA RC E L ON A , S PA I N 14 - 17 JUNE A V I B R A N T C I T Y F U L L O F G R E AT F O O D A N D G R E AT F U N

Where can I watch the racing? Head for the W Barcelona Hotel for the best view from the free-to-enter Race Village. What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC+2 What will the weather be like? The city averages 24°C during the day so light, summery clothes are the best choice. What should I see and do while I’m there? The curious towering structure of La Sagrada Família, a church designed by world-famous architect Antoni Gaudí, is a must see when in Barcelona. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as you will see many examples of Gaudí’s distinctive modernist work dotted throughout the city, including Casa Milà and


Park Güell. For a true taste of Catalan culture head to the Gothic Quarter and take a stroll down La Rambla, the city’s most famous street. Here you can see a theatre show, visit one of the many art galleries, grab some tapas or even take a cookery class in La Boqueria, which is hailed as the city’s best food market.

Any interesting facts? Work began on La Sagrada Família in 1882 and it remains unfinished to this day. It is scheduled for completion in 2026, a century after the death of Gaudí. Despite not being complete, the architectural masterpiece attracts a massive 2.8 million visitors a year.

What traditional delicacies should I try? Tapas - a traditional Spanish cuisine - comes in all shapes and sizes but one of Barcelona’s most iconic dishes is ‘la bomba’, a large stuffed croquette that was inspired by the grenades used by anarchists during the Spanish Civil War. Pan con Tomate is a quintessential Catalan tapa consisting of white bread rubbed in tomato and drizzled in oil and salt and is a great addition to any meal.

Pete Greenhalgh’s verdict: “Barcelona is a fantastic racecourse and superb for sailing. Fortunately it also facilitates the stadium-style of racing, in that we can still bring the action close to the shore and get good visibility for the public. And then the city is full of history and beautiful things to go and look at; we’re really looking forward to going there again.”


C A S C A I S , P ORT U G A L 5 - 8 JULY A S O P H I S T I C AT E D S U M M E R T I M E P L AY G R O U N D

The ultimate Stadium Racing championship will head to the prestigious Clube Naval de Cascais in 2018 and 2019, with the Portuguese yacht club hosting the Series for the very first time this year. Welcoming the Series as part of its 80th anniversary celebrations, Clube Naval de Cascais will see both the GC32 and Flying Phantom fleets take to the water for four days of foiling action just off the Portuguese coastline. Portugal is one of Europe’s leading sailing destinations and in recent years it has been a mainstay of the Extreme Sailing Series™, with Acts being held in Porto in 2012 and 2013, Lisbon in 2016 and most recently in the Madeira Islands in 2016 and 2017. The country


continues to build on this sailing legacy with the introduction of Cascais to its impressive portfolio of Host Venues. What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC+1 What should I see and do while I’m there? Cascais has some of the finest beaches in the Lisbon region, offering golden sands, clear sea waters, and great bars and eateries. Make sure you check out the Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) – a collapsed cave and series of highly weathered cliffs, 2km to the north of Cascais. For a spot of culture, visit the Condes de Castro Guimarães museum – a delightful mock-gothic castle, constructed in 1902 by an Irish tobacco millionaire. The

museum displays furniture and art from his personal collection. What traditional delicacies should I try? One of the most popular delicacies in Portugal is bacalhau, which is salted dried codfish. Although a fixture of special occasions and religious celebrations, this dish is an acquired taste. For those with a sweet tooth, try a Pastel de Nata – an egg tart pastry that is utterly moreish. Any interesting facts? As Portugal was neutral during World War II, many European royals and aristocrats moved to Cascais during this period, including the House of Bourbon from Spain, the House of Savoy from Italy and the royal families of Hungary and Bulgaria.



Where can I watch the racing? Cardiff Bay provides the Stadium with the best view available from the Race Village by the Norwegian Church. What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC+1 What will the weather be like? Sunshine is likely but rain is always a possibility so be prepared for every eventuality. What should I see and do while I’m there? Twice voted European City of Sport, there is plenty to get you in the competitive spirit in the Welsh Capital, not least the GC32 Stadium Racing. With numerous major sports venues hosting rugby union, cricket, football, athletics and ice hockey – including Principality Stadium and Sophia Gardens – pick a sport and show your


support. The city is famed for its sheer number of castles, Cardiff Castle is a prime example. The motte and bailey castle sits proud atop a hill and shows centuries of alterations and additions, encompassing 2,000 years of the city’s past. What traditional delicacies should I try? A posh version of the British classic cheese on toast, Welsh rarebit is a local delicacy which consists of a cheese sauce poured over toasted bread. Additional flavouring, such as ale or mustard, is often added. For something sweet, Welsh cakes are a centuries-old custom. These small round treats are laced with currants and baked on a griddle. Any interesting facts? Cardiff’s Coal Exchange was home to the first recorded million-pound business

deal in 1904. The magnificent building has played an important role in the city’s industrial history and, following its completion in 1888, Cardiff quickly became the biggest coal port in the world. The plummet in coal prices after World War I saw the industry fall into decline and the building into disrepair, but in 2016 it was restored to its former glory and is now home to a luxury spa and hotel. Pete Greenhalgh’s verdict: “A really good Cardiff event means lots of wind. It makes for pretty exciting racing with some fast reaching, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to that. Yes, it’s an enclosed venue but it’s big enough to stretch our legs if the wind blows from the right direction. It’s probably one of the best venues for spectators and potential for excitement.”



Where can I watch the racing? Head for Harbor Island Park where you can get an uninterrupted view of the racing all the way along the waterfront. What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC-7 What will the weather be like? Expect glorious sunshine with little chance of rain. What should I see and do while I’m there? Balboa Park is far more than just a park and is one of San Diego’s greatest assets. The 1,200 acres is decorated with beautiful buildings and water features and with 17 museums and cultural centres, there is plenty to see and do. For a true taste of


the Californian lifestyle, head to Mission and Pacific Beaches. Visit one of the many hire shops and join the constant stream of skateboarders, in-line skaters, joggers and cyclists along the boardwalk or pick a spot on the beach and relax to the sound of crashing waves. What traditional delicacies should I try? Although not the most nutritious snack, the California burrito is part of the San Diego experience. This take on a Mexican classic consists of carne asada, cheese, sour cream and French fries, rolled in a flour tortilla. Any interesting facts? Located in San Diego, 32nd Street Naval Station is the largest United States Navy base and the top employer in the city.

When watching the racing, keep an eye out for military jets and helicopters taking off from the runway in the background. Pete Greenhalgh’s verdict: “San Diego last year produced absolutely phenomenal racing and I think every single team will be thoroughly looking forward to going back there. It’s a really tactical racecourse, great weather and a really supportive public on the shore cheering us on. Even when we’re in the boat park getting ready there’s a lot of interaction with spectators wanting to know what’s going on and when we’re going to be racing. The backdrop of the city is beautiful and you’re well aware of the huge military presence as it’s got a big naval base and that’s pretty cool.”



Where can I watch the racing? The racing takes place off the shore of Médano Beach in Cabo San Lucas.

nightlife, with many Americans travelling to the resort for the Spring Break celebrations.

– which lies to the East of the peninsula - as ‘the world’s aquarium’.

What will the weather be like? It will be very hot, with temperatures up to 25°C, so be sure to protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated.

What traditional delicacies should I try? Shrimp and fish tacos, made with freshly caught fish and special seasoning, are a classic dish in Cabo San Lucas. Smoked Marlin – made with the most common species of fish in the area - is another popular dish and is delicious when served in a corn tortilla with cheese and vegetables.

What should I see and do while I’m there? Take in the sheer beauty of the Baja California Peninsula’s natural wonders with endless activities on offer. Hop on a boat trip to witness the majestic whales that swim just off the coastline or hire a jet-ski for a highspeed sprint to the ‘El Arco’ rock formation. Cabo San Lucas is also renowned for its

Any interesting facts? An underwater sand waterfall located near Land’s End is a popular dive spot for tourists. Discovered by French explorer Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s, the rare phenomenon sees sand cascade down into a 1,200-foot canyon below. Following his travels to the area, Cousteau referred to the Sea of Cortez

Pete Greenhalgh’s verdict: “It’s great to race with such an amazing backdrop and in some cases it becomes a big part of the tactics on the racecourse as there is a ginormous rock between us and the wind that we have to negotiate. But that’s all part of the game. It’s a very tricky racecourse and unless you’ve got a significant lead going into that event it could be anybody’s. It’s a venue that takes no prisoners. The public were massively supportive and very enthusiastic and there’s plenty of wildlife there. A couple of the crew went for a swim off the headland and they could hear the whales so that is pretty spectacular. The scenery and natural rock formations are incredible; in some ways it is similar to Muscat and the cliffs by the Old Town.”

What time zone do I need to set my watch to? UTC-7








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