Thursday, 21 January 2010
iShares Cup Amsterdam 2009, start race 1, BT, skipper Nick Moloney. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.
by Emily Caroe
The Notice of Race for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series Europe has been issued, effectively opening the official entry period for the European series - closing date for entries is midnight on 15th March. The award-winning circuit, which saw over 200,000 spectators entertained by the ten international skippers and their crews on the dynamic Extreme 40s in 2009, once again promises to deliver a top-level sailing series, across six European destinations, an experiential VIP corporate hospitality experience and an ever-growing entertainment package on water and land for the general public.
"We continue negotiations with various potential main partners to support our long term plans for both the European and Asian series," commented Mark Turner, CEO of OC Group. "However, securing new partners before the European season kicks off is not absolutely necessary and won't affect our plans for 2010 - this year will be another spectacular season of Extreme 40 racing, racing that continues to change the way sailing is seen. We are keen to grow our original brand - Extreme Sailing Series - regardless of developments on the sponsor front as we go through the year," he concluded.
iShares Cup Kiel, Day 1. Extreme 40 fleet with Kiel city in background. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.
Six existing teams from Europe and the Middle East, have already expressed strong commitment to rejoin the circuit for 2010, with several new teams anticipated to step-up to the start line in May 2010. The expectation and objective is once again to have 8 to 10 international, top level teams. OC Events, organiser of the circuit since its inception in 2007, is planning an official launch week commencing 15 May 2010 when the teams and their skippers will be presented officially for the first time.
The 2010 series will be a five, possibly six event series, racing in iconic venues and cities in locations including the UK, France, Germany and Spain:
Event 1: 27-30 May location tbc
Exhibition Event: 19 June: J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race
Event 2: 14-18 July or 31 July to 5 August UK
Event 3: 26-29 August Germany
Event 4: 9-12 September location tbc
Event 5: 23-26 September location tbc
Event 6: 9-12 October, Almería, Spain
Final venues will be announced one by one over the coming weeks.
iShares Cup Hyeres 2009. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.
The four day format of racing will remain unchanged, except that the opening day's races on the 'Media Day' will in 2010 count towards the overall score. At each event, the teams will have the opportunity to take part in 'corporate sailing' in the morning to entertain their VIP guests, while racing will take place in the afternoon.
With up to eight races per afternoon, the events are extremely physical for the skippers and crews. Each race lasts approximately 15 minutes on the short, tight racecourses the series has become renowned for. However the Race Committee is currently looking at other options to challenge the teams.
Oman Sail Masirah racing very close to the quay in Venice. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Oman Sail.
Tim Hancock, once again Principal Race Officer, commented, "We tested the strategy and tactics of the teams last year in some of the tightest racecourses I've ever seen, from the traditional windward-leeward, to downwind starts and triangular courses. This year we will also be exploring possibilities of speed runs, slalom-courses and other 'tradition-breaking' ideas. The high, professional standard of racing will never be compromised, but we also want to provide thrilling, and easy to understand racing: racing that will continue to entertain the crowds. The Media Day, held before the public village opens, will allow us to include some more conventional and longer courses as well, maintaining an excellent overall balance in the format," he concluded.
Every Extreme 40 will continue to race with a 'fifth-man' onboard, a VIP guest, cameraman, photographer or reporter - an opportunity for them to be right in the heart of the action during actual racing.
OC Events will also continue to provide a full PR and Media programme throughout 2010 including a host broadcaster service, TV news and a TV series for global broadcast media. The 2009 series delivered a media value for just the six territories the series visited, of over EUR5 million (despite a 10-15% drop in equivalent advertising rates) and the 6-part TV series was aired in 130 countries across 29 international networks resulting in 38 hours of TV programming in one month.
Extreme 40s enjoying close racing in sunshine and breeze at Cowes. Image copyright Anne Hinton. All rights reserved.
The Extreme 40 fleet will be even more colourful this year as the sail branding rules have been amended one step further for the season, as planned when the 2009 50% branding rule was introduced. "Looking back through the photographs and TV footage from 2009, it was clear that the boats with their sails 100% branded were the most dynamic and stood out amongst the fleet, therefore we have introduced a new rule for 2010 that all boats' mainsails shall be 100% branded, so that there is no penalty on the teams already doing this," explained Race Director Gilles Chiorri.
Off the water, the teams, sponsors, media and VIP guests will be hosted and entertained in bespoke hospitality facilities offering teams the opportunity to mingle with their guests before and after sailing in a choice of settings, from general access to made-to-measure private corporate entertainment suites.
All teams entered into the 2010 series will be invited to a briefing at OC Events' offices at East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK on Tuesday 30 March covering the race management, media and hospitality aspects of the event.
The closing date for entries to the 2010 series is 15 March 2010.
Extreme Sailing Series Europe