Sunday, 3 August 2008

Windsurfers vs. BT Extreme 40 on the Solent

Pro windsurfer Guy Cribb races the BT Extreme 40 before the first day of iShares Cup racing at Skandia Cowes Week. Image copyright Tom Gruitt.

by iShares Cup/OC Event media

The BT Extreme 40 lived up to its name today by going head to head with another extreme sport — sailing alongside some top pro windsurfers for a blast around a very breezy Solent.

With winds nudging 30 knots, today's practice race for the iShares Cup fleet was cancelled but BT, skippered by Nick Moloney, went for a sail lining up against champion windsurfers Guy Cribb and Nik Baker, and Johnny Hutchcroft — a windsurfing world champion and top catamaran sailor who has also sailed Extreme 40s — he recently skippered Volvo Ocean Race around the Isle of Wight.

The BT Extreme 40 racing pro windsurfer Nik Baker before the third event of the iShares Cup. Image copyright Tom Gruitt.

In today's gusty conditions the jury is still out as to whether the sailors or the windsurfers had the edge, but while the windsurfers were pulling some spectacular stunts the Extreme 40 definitely kept up with the pace. "It was actually a bit too windy for us today," explained skipper Nick Moloney, "but give us about 17 knots and we'd be flying!"

BT goes for a blast before the iShares Cup in Cowes. Image copyright OnEdition/OC Events

The real battle begins Saturday, when 11 Extreme 40s will take to the water for the third event of the iShares Cup Sailing Series. Racing takes place from 14.00-17.00 off Lepe Beach on the northern shore of the Solent, with six quick-fire races planned and an ideal sailing breeze of around 10-12 knots forecast for tomorrow — and some tough racing expected.

"I'm so excited to be in Cowes," said JPMorgan Asset Management skipper Shirley Robertson, "It's going to be really close, tight, hard racing, and I love it!"

"Everyone's going to have to be on top of their game here," agreed Rob Greenhalgh, who is currently leading the series with TEAMORIGIN. "We want to win event but it's going to be tough — I think there are five or six boats that can win it."

iShares Cup

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