Thursday, 21 April 2011

Extreme 40: Austria’s carbon bullet against America’s Cup teams

Extreme 40 racing in 2011. Image copyright Red Bull Photofiles.

by Mario Schoby

The second stop of the nine-race global Extreme Sailing Series starts on Wednesday in Qingdao (China), which was the venue for the Olympics 2008. At the first stop in Muscat/Oman the Team of Hagara/Steinacher (AUT), Craig Monk (NLZ) and Will Howden (UK) got the season off to a sensational start with third place. The Newcomers sailed their 14-meter long and 20-meter high multihull brilliantly, leaving distinguished teams in their wake including Alinghi (SUI), America’s Cup victors in 2003 and 2007, as well as the defending Extreme Sailing Series champion, The Wave, Muscat (Oman).

Qingdao (CHINA) - Hans-Peter Steinacher, the tactician on board for Red Bull Extreme Sailing, announced: “We managed to surprise people with third place in Oman. They’ll be watching us more closely now because we’ve broken what was expected to be the dominance of the A-Cup teams.“ The team Hagara/Steinacher/Howden/Monk will try to use their collective experience stand up against the daunting might of the opposition. Hagara/Steinacher as well as Will Howden (UK/trimmer) competed in the 2008 Olympics in China.

“We know these waters well,“ said skipper Roman Hagara. “We spent a lot of time here both before and after the Olympics in 2008.“ For the double Olympic champion, who will be competing in the Extreme Sailing World Series against 10 other teams with the best sailors from 15 nations, that means one thing: “But we’re looking to do well in every race because we want to have a say in the overall championship. Anyhow, we’re here to win.“

To achieve that goal the team is working hard on perfecting tactics. “I won the America’s Cup twice,“ said the new bowman, Craig Monk (NZL). “But this boat is just unbelievable. It’s brutally fast. It’s damn hard to sail.“

With five days of racing for each stop and thus a total of 35 days of competition, it will be essential for the team to preserve their strength for precisely the right moments. Monk said: “Every maneuvre feels like a 100-meter sprint.“

Including Sunday, there will be up to six races each day in Qingdao. The competition begins each day at 1 p.m. local time (8 a.m. Central European Time).

World Series 2011:
Act 1: 20-24 February, Muscat, Oman
Act 2: 13-17 April, China
Act 3: 25-29 May, Istanbul, Turkey
Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA
Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, GBR
Act 6: 14-18 September, Trapani, Italy
Act 7: 28 September – 2 Oktober, Nice, France
Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, Spain
Act 9: 7-11 December, Singapore

Red Bull Extreme Sailing
Extreme Sailing Series