Friday, 18 February 2011

Extreme 40: A Plethora of America's Cup Crews and Kiwi Accents in 2011

The Wave, Muscat, the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series champion training off Oman. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail.

by Anne Hinton

Whereas there was just the odd Kiwi accent (e.g. Fraser Brown or Andrew McLean) on the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series, until the participation of the three-quarters Kiwi crew of Emirates Team New Zealand at the final event in Almeria, they will be heard throughout the fleet in 2011.

Andrew McLean, with Mike Golding, on ECOVER Extreme 40 in 2010. Image copyright Anne Hinton - all rights reserved.

Emirates Team New Zealand's participation has again seen probably the least practice time in the fleet, potentially putting them on the back foot in Muscat, as coordinated crew work is extremely important in X40s. A training camp for many of the teams has been running for the last month in Mussanah, Oman, but Emirates Team New Zealand only came in at the very end of this.

Emirates Team New Zealand also has two different crew members from their participation in Almeria. Skipper Dean Barker and bowman Jero Lomas are, this time, joined by long-time Emirates Team New Zealand trimmer James Dagg, and their cat coach, also ex-BMW ORACLE Racing coach, Australian Glenn Ashby. Whereas Ashby is a multihull world champion and Olympic medallist, Daggy has no previous experience of Extreme 40 sailing.

Brad Webb of Team GAC Pindar. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

ORACLE Racing's Brad Webb, Jono Macbeth (who crewed for Shirley Robertson on Extreme 40s in the past) are also former Team New Zealanders and have Kiwi accents to complement Ian Williams' British accent aboard Team GAC Pindar; BMW ORACLE Racing's Gilberto Nobili completes that crew. Team GAC Pindar has, like Emirates Team New Zealand, had less practice time than many others.

Jono Macbeth of Team GAC Pindar. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

Artemis Racing has an entry of its own with Terry Hutchinson in the driving seat, and Kiwis Morgan Trubovich and Sean Clarkson, plus Aussie bowman Andy Fethers, in addition to a presence on Red Bull Racing.

Artemis Racing has another sailor aboard Roman Hagara's Red Bull Racing, and Austrian accents will be diluted by Kiwi in the form of Artemis Racing's Star boat sailor Craig Monk (who is also currently doing an Olympic campaign with Hamish Pepper - Southern Star Racing) and British sailor Will Howden (ex Tornado Olympian, who sailed on the ECOVER Extreme 40 in 2010), as well as Hagara's former Tornado Olympic partner Hans-Peter Steinacher.

Luna Rossa. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

Max Sirena, Luna Rossa's Skipper, is a former member of the 2010 America's Cup winning team BMW ORACLE Racing... He has veteran Extreme 40 sailors, the 2010 champion´helmsman Paul Campbell-James and Alister Richardson on the crew, along with ex-49er sailor and Luna Rossa crew Manuel Modena.

Max Sirena of Luna Rossa. Supplied image.

Alinghi has a wealth of America's Cup talent in its crew too, with Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey, not to mention Ernesto Bertarelli himself. Tanguy Cariou and Yann Guichard's multihull experience and abilities are second to none.

The all-Italian entry Nice for You also has America's Cup experience on board, with Simone de Mari and Daniele de Luca, as well as multihull knowledge from Alberto Sonnino to complement the enthusiasm of skipper Alberto Barovier for the Extreme 40 circuit racing.

Scattered amongst the other teams are Tornado Olympians such as Roland Gaebler (Team Extreme) and Pierre Pennec (Gitana, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild), while the two Oman Sail boats are strong in practice time, and led by the very experienced Sidney Gavignet, and young Australian top international match racer Torvar Mirsky, respectively. The speed of development of Omani sailors is shown by their top placings internationally, including a runner-up placing to the runaway winner of the Tour de France a la Voile in the Sailing Arabia - Tour of Arabia earlier this month, and the victories of their Extreme 40 boats overall in the last two Extreme Sailing Series. (Kinley Fowler, from Torvar Mirsky's match racing team, mainsheetman on Oman Air, is also a Kiwi.)

Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail.

Crews without America's Cup sailors on board do stand a very good chance of doing well too; the key to winning the Extreme Sailing Series is preparation and practice - something at which the Oman Sail boats excel, as shown by Masirah's overall win of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2009 and that of The Wave, Muscat, in 2010. As Dean Barker put it "the nature of this racing with very short courses and a lot of maneouvring puts strong emphasis on starting and boathandling so time in the boat is very important".

Bring on the racing!

Dean Barker: Kiwi Yachting Consultants
Extreme Sailing Series