Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Extreme 40s: ECOVER Sailing Team Announce All-British Line-Up for 2010

ECOVER Extreme 40 in training. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Lucy Harwood

With two weeks to go until the start of the Extreme Sailing Series the Ecover Sailing Team have announced an all British line up for the season ahead.

British Olympic Tornado sailor Leigh McMillan is one of two new crew announcements, as he takes on the helm of the Ecover Extreme 40 in 2010. America’s Cup and TP52 sailor Jonathan Taylor also steps onboard in the role of bowman when they line up for the first event in Sète, France at the end of May. Skipper Mike Golding takes on the role of trimmer, with 2009 Ecover crew member Will Howden remaining in the joint role of mainsheet and tactician.

Leigh McMillan. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

The new line up reunites McMillan and Howden, who competed together at World and Olympic level in the Tornado class from 2004 until to 2008. As one of the world’s top dinghy and multihull sailors, Leigh is no stranger to Extreme 40s. In 2009 he took charge of Oman Sail Masirah during the 2009 Extreme Sailing Series Asia, steering the team to victory during this inaugural event.

“Since the Tornado class was withdrawn from the Olympics the Extreme 40 seemed an obvious choice. I did some coaching for the Ecover Sailing Team during the European season in 2009, and then jumped onboard Oman Sail Masirah for the Asian series. These boats are multihull sailing at its best, it’s fast, intense and the standard of competition is very high. It’s great to be sailing again with Will, and the experience Mike and Jonathan bring from the world of IMOCA and the America’s Cup is invaluable. I’m looking forward to getting some strong results and mixing it up with the top teams from last season,” Ecover Sailing Team helm, Leigh McMillan.

Jonathan Taylor. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

After a small refit on the boat, the team has been training out of Hamble in the build up to the first event.

“Training has gone really well. Will and Leigh have a great synergy onboard, so it has been a very smooth process working in the role changes. 2009 was a learning curve for all of us, and I hope this year will see us raise the bar in terms of performance on the water. Leigh will be fantastic on the helm, and we intend to make an impact on the leaderboard this season”, said Ecover Sailing Team Skipper, Mike Golding (GBR).

Despite its position in the Mediterranean, Sète has a history of being a great location for sailing. The town of Saintes-Maries-de-Mar (commonly known as ‘the trench’ in France) is close by, which has been the location for many speed records most recently in 2009 when l’Hydroptère set a new World Sailing Speed Record there. As a result the region can provide a perfect backdrop for spectacular sailing, but with the Mediterranean on the doorstep there is always the threat of a high-pressure system coming into throw the racing off track.

“We have a fantastic team in place and the series will take us to some brilliant locations for racing. I am sure the competition will, as always, be very close. I hope to attend some events and I am looking forward to seeing the Ecover Sailing Team in action. Good luck for 2010!” said Michael Bremans, CEO Ecover.

Ecover Sailing Team Crew
Mike Golding (GBR) Skipper/Trimmer
Leigh McMillan (GBR) Helm
Will Howden (GBR) Mainsheet/Tactician
Jonathan Taylor (GBR) Bow

2010 Extreme Sailing Series Europe Calendar:
Sète, France 27-30 May
Cowes, UK 31 July - 5 August
Kiel, Germany - 26-29 August
Trapani, Italy 23-26 September
Almeria, Spain 9-12 October

Extreme Sailing Series Europe