n 2009 thousands gathered along the shoreline in Cowes, Isle of Wight, to watch the Extreme 40s in close quarter combat. The racing, easy to understand for both the sailors and non-sailors alike, was intense and spectacular, with the teams cheered on as they crossed within inches of each other and the beach.
The Extreme Sailing Series returns to Cowes again for the fourth consecutive year and for 2010 will host more days of racing than ever before. The fleet will be put through its paces over six days, with a mixture of the short, sharp courses the circuit has become renowned for, as well as longer 'classical' Cowes Week type races, stretching the legs of the dynamic Extreme 40 catamarans and the tenacity of their crews.
Event organiser OC Events is passionate about making top level professional sailing, also entertaining for both sailing and non-sailor audiences. Once again the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village at Egypt Point will have a mix of high-end corporate hospitality, along with bars and food outlets for the general public and in the evening DJs. "We aim to entertain both on and off the water at every event," commented Gilles Chiorri, Event Director for OC Events. "The visitors last year were fantastic in their support of the teams and were very vocal in their enjoyment of the racing. We look forward to putting on another great show this year."
Friday 30 July will see the only UK leg of the circuit kick off with an exclusive media day, reserved for the visiting national and international media. The non-point scoring racing will give the teams the opportunity to assess each other's improvements in performance and teamwork over the 8 weeks since the opening event in Sète at the end of May.
Every morning from Saturday 31 July to Thursday 5 August inclusive (except for Tuesday 3 August) there will be a long distance morning race, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line. Lasting up to 1 hour, the longer races will pitch the teams' boat speed head-to-head on relatively open water.
The short course racing will take place at Egypt Point every afternoon. For the first three days from 3pm and for the final three, the entertainment will begin from 4pm with racing from 5pm, to ensure as many of the Cowes Week competitors can enjoy the top flight action, after the waters are largely clear of the Cowes Week racing yachts.
Nine teams are anticipated to be on the start line in Cowes including current Series leader Yann Guichard and his men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, defending Series Champions, Oman Sail Masirah led by Mr Multihull himself Loick Peyron, double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara with Red Bull Extreme Sailing and local hero Mike Golding with Ecover Sailing Team. A new entry joining the line-up in Cowes will be announced shortly.
Mike Golding, skipper of Ecover Sailing Team commented, "It is always nice to be sailing in familiar waters, in front of a home crowd, but that also comes with additional pressures. We had a good result in Sete and we are hoping to reach the podium for the Cowes event. It will be interesting to see the teams' performances on the longer races - I'm sure boat handling will be crucial, as will the communication onboard. It's a long race compared to the short sharp 20 minute racing we are used to, I'm sure concentration will also be key to success on the water. The Island is famous for its tidal currents, and I'm hoping local knowledge will help us gain a bit of an advantage over some of the other teams in that area."
Four Extreme 40s will take part in this weekend's J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race: Ecover, Team GAC Pindar and The Wave, Muscat as well as defending line honours champions, Oman Sail Masirah.
Golding commented on this weekend's marathon. "This will be the first time we have raced as a team for more than 20 minutes at a time so I'm sure its going to be testing out there, hopefully we'll have some good conditions and be back in time for breakfast!"
2010 Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week Schedule
Friday 30 July
1pm - Media Day, Press Conference
2.30pm - Informal racing, first start off Royal Yacht Squadron
Saturday 31 July - Monday 2 August
10am - Start long-distance race off Royal Yacht Squadron
3pm - Afternoon, short course racing off Egypt Point
End of Racing - Daily prizegiving
Tuesday 3 August - Thursday 5 August
10am - Start long-distance race off Royal Yacht Squadron (no race Tues 3 Aug)
5pm - Afternoon, short course racing off Egypt Point
6.30pm - End of event prizegiving