Thursday, 27 May 2010

Extreme 40s: The Final Countdown for ECOVER

ECOVER at the iShares Cup in Cowes in 2009. Image copyright Anne Hinton, all rights reserved.

by Lucy Harwood

It has been six months since the 2009 Extreme Sailing Series concluded in Almeria and the eight teams competing in the 2010 series have all arrived in Sète. Just one days remains until racing kicks off for round one and anticipation for the first event on the circuit is building.

Ecover arrived early in order to squeeze in some extra training on location. “We were keen to get some time on the water and test ourselves in the conditions we are likely to expect here, alongside Red Bull we arrived early and we’ve been doing a bit of two boat training together," skipper Mike Golding.

The start of the season also means measurement for all the teams, the boats are all weighed, and then teams are all assigned added weights as required in order to match the weights across the fleet. “We know measurement can take a while, it can sometimes be a big issue, so that was the other incentive to get here as soon as we could. But we’re pleased that all went smoothly and we’re now out sailing and training alongside some of the other teams,” Will Howden Ecover Sailing Team Tactician.

New line up

Sète, located on the south coast of France, is no stranger to the world of international sailing. In 2002 it was the home of the Alinghi and Victory Challenge America’s Cup teams, it can provide spectacular sailing conditions, but its location in the heart of the Mediterranean can always throw a spanner in the works. For the eight international teams competing this week, the forecasts look good and the breeze is expected to build as the week goes on. “This is a perfect location,” commented skipper Mike Golding. “We sailed yesterday and it was reasonably light, but still enough to get the hull flying! We have a bit more breeze today and we are expecting for conditions to improve which means we’re in for a excellent first event”.

2010 sees a new boat design and a new team line up onboard Ecover. The team has two new crew members, and a change of roles onboard. “I’m really looking forward to this season,” commented skipper Mike Golding. “Last year was a steep learning curve, we feel more comfortable onboard and I guess a little more confident in what we are capable of. I’m really happy with our line up, Leigh is doing a great job on the helm and I’m looking forward to some exciting racing”.

The Ecover Sailing Team took part in some training with some of the other teams yesterday. “The standard of competition is, as expected, very high,” commented Leigh McMillan after training yesterday. “Even some of the new teams have had added experience due to the Asian series, so we are going to have to go out there and be very focused on the water. I am sure teams such as Oman and Gitana will be looking to defend their place at the top of the table, but I know everyone is hungry to make their own impact on the leaderboard and we have our sights set high”.

ECOVER Sailing Team
Extreme Sailing Series Europe