Extreme Sailing Series: Crew details confirmed

Published on January 29th, 2015

(January 29, 2015) – The world’s elite sailors are preparing to meet in Singapore for the opening Act of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series™, which is set to bring the world famous Marina Bay alive with its pioneering Stadium Racing concept. With the transfer window now closed, some new players will enter the arena as the Series launches into its ninth season.

The adrenaline-fueled global series has given the sport of sailing a healthy dusting-off. Bringing the action to the public with Stadium Sailing, putting guests at the heart of the battle and dramatically increasing the pace on the water, the creators of the Extreme Sailing Series™ have set new standards, both in terms of high level competition and sporting entertainment.

Race Director Phil Lawrence expects the venue to deliver on every level and an unpredictable start to the season. “Downtown Singapore is always a terrific showcase for Extreme 40 stadium racing and as an opener for the 2015 Series will set the bar high. This will be a baptism of fire for the new teams, whilst those more familiar with the circuit will face challenging racing in light and tricky winds especially if hit by gusts delivered by the frequent local thunderstorms. With such a talented and diverse fleet on the grid this Series we can expect to see some spectacular thrills and spills that the Extreme Sailing Series is famous for.”

It’s a sport, helming state-of-the-art multihulls on very demanding courses with the most respected skippers lining up to do just that, competing so fiercely that heart-stopping close encounters always feature on the menu. It’s also a spectacle, and the public has full access to the action from the shore in carefully chosen venues, combining challenging sailing conditions and spectator-friendly configurations.

Capable of reaching speeds usually reserved to motorboats even in medium wind conditions, the Extreme 40 has been designed by Olympic champions Yves Loday and Mitch Booth, with the aim to provide the international sailing arena with a visually stunning and 100% performance-focused multihull. Flying a hull in as little as 8 knots of breeze (15 kph), the 40-foot (12m) long carbon speed machine requires coordination, finesse but also sheer muscular power from the crews who battle it out on short courses during races that do not exceed 15-20 minutes – and there can be up to 8 of them per day.

Tricky wind conditions combined with the level of competition inevitably lead to some spectacular crashes, capsizes, and other hair-raising near misses as the previous seasons have proved. Logistically, everything is put in place so that teams can resume racing as soon as possible should an incident occur, and the professionalism of shore teams are clearly comparable to that of Formula 1 squads operating in the pit zone.

Nine teams with 45 world-class sailors from 10 nations will lock horns February 5 – 8, 2015, under the gaze of the towering downtown city skyline of Singapore. With just one week to go, the event organizers have revealed the lowdown on the teams and their line-ups.

THE LINE UP – ACT 1 SINGAPORE

GAC Pindar (GBR)
Skipper Seve Jarvin returns for his second season on the circuit, this year sharing duties with four-times World Match Racing champion Ian Williams. Aussies James Wierzbowski and Tyson Lamond both return to the GAC Pindar line-up, and the team welcomes Aussie 18-foot skiff champions Jack Macartney and Marcus Ashley-Jones.
Skipper/Helm: Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Tactician: Jack Macartney (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: James Wierzbowski (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: Marcus Ashley-Jones (AUS)
Bowman: Tyson Lamond (AUS)

Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Russia’s 2014 Olympic Laser sailor Igor Lisovenko leads the team flying his home flag in his second season, this time with three Russians onboard including newcomer Alexander Bozhko. Kiwi match racing supremo Phil Robertson will remain at the helm, with his Waka Racing teammate Garth Ellingham continuing as the teams Trimmer.
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Garth Ellingham (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Alexander Bozhko (RUS)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)

Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA)
A new syndicate for 2015, the Italian team is led by Lorenzo Bressani, who has twice been nominated as ISAF World Sailor of the Year. Bressani and the Italian crew of Enrico Zennaro and Gabriele Olivo have an impressive combined CV that includes 20 World Championship titles across numerous classes, while Adam Kay and Tom Buggy from the UK will provide valuable Extreme 40 class insight in Singapore.
Skipper/Helm: Lorenzo Bressani (ITA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Enrico Zennaro (ITA)
Headsail Trimmer: Gabriele Olivo (ITA)
Bowman: Tom Buggy (GBR)
Floater: Adam Kay (GBR)

Oman Air (OMA)
Another new face to the tour is 49er World Champion Stevie Morrison, who will take the reigns of Oman Air and will be joined by his Team GB teammates Ed Powys and Nic Asher. Ted Hackney and Ali Al Balashi return for their second year with the Omani syndicate bringing their knowledge from the previous season.
Skipper/Helm: Stevie Morrison (GBR)
Tactician: Nic Asher (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Ed Powys (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ted Hackney (AUS)
Bowmen: Ali Al Balashi (OMA)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Red Bull Sailing Team will bring in some fresh blood with Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailor Jason Waterhouse as skipper. The team will continue to be spearheaded by the Austrian double Olympic gold medal-winning duo Hagara and Steinacher, with New Zealand’s Stewart Dodson and the UK’s Shaun Mason both now in their second year on the circuit.
Skipper: Jason Waterhouse (AUS)
Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Bowman: Shaun Mason (GBR)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
The Danish-run SAP Extreme Sailing Team are back for their fourth year on the circuit, with co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner. Brad Farrand and Thierry Douillard will continue their tenure, with Mads Emil Stephensen, a silver medallist at the 49er Worlds, adding to the line up.
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Mainsail Trimmer: Mads Emil Stephensen (DEN)
Headsail Trimmer: Thierry Douillard (FRA)
Bowman: Brad Farrand (NZL)

Team Aberdeen (SIN)
The local entry supported by Aberdeen Asset Management includes some of the hottest international sailing talent. Skipper Nick Moloney is joined by America’s Cup and accomplished dinghy sailor Adam Beashel; experienced Extreme 40 trimmer and a former Team GB sailor Tom Dawson; UK high-performance dinghy sailor Freddie White and Asian Games gold medallist Justin Wong.
Skipper/Helm: Nick Moloney (AUS)
Tactician: Adam Beashel (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Tom Dawson (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Freddie White (GBR)
Bowman: Justin Wong (SIN)

Team Turx (TUR)
A brand new syndicate for 2015, Extreme 40 veteran and class co-creator Mitch Booth and world-class multihull sailor Edhem Dirvana will share skipper duties. Turkey’s national sailing team members Selim Kakış and Anıl Berk Baki and Portugal’s Diogo Cayolla will all embark on their first full Extreme 40 season.
Co-Skipper/Helm: Mitch Booth (AUS)
Co-Skipper/Floater: Edhem Dirvana (TUR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Selim Kakış (TUR)
Headsail Trimmer: Diogo Cayolla (POR)
Bowman: Anıl Berk Baki (TUR)

The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
The team from Oman are two-time overall Series winners and 2014 runners up, led by British Olympian Leigh McMillan. McMillan will field the same crew as 2014, with British Extreme 40 heavyweight Pete Greenhalgh, double Olympic gold medallist and the only female in the circuit Sarah Ayton, America’s Cup sailor Ed Smyth and Omani national Nasser Al Mashari as the team look to reclaim their title, with McMillan vowing to settle “unfinished business”.
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (NZL)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)

WHAT THEY SAID
Lorenzo Bressani – Lino Sonego Team Italia
“As our first race in the Series, Singapore will be a very important test for us and an opportunity to setup crew dynamics on a new boat. The objectives of the team for the season are to mature in our experience in this class and to grow up Act by Act. As Lino Sonego Team Italia we have planned a three years program and Singapore is just the start of a long route.”

Sarah Ayton – The Wave, Muscat
“The Extreme Sailing Series, I believe, is one of best sailing Series around at the moment; four days of racing, up to 11 races a day, plenty of action and loads going on. Stadium racing, it doesn’t really get much better.”

Rasmus Køstner – SAP Extreme Sailing Team
“We don’t take this challenge lightly; we are expecting 2015 to be quite a different year and we need to be ready off the starting block. Year on year we can see that the Series innovates on every level. It’s heart-racing action, which demands on the edge split second decision-making. We’ll take nothing for granted this year. In this kind of sailing you cannot hide, and need to fight for every metre – everybody can win a race, but to get to the top of the leaderboard at the end of the year, you have to perform well in several hundred races. No other racing delivers like this.”

Nick Moloney – Team Aberdeen
“Singapore has become an event all the teams look forward to as it is such a tight, challenging course. Plus this year, as the season opener, everyone is excited to be back on the water. Because of team changes, there is a degree of uncertainty too, which adds to the anticipation.”

Stevie Morrison – Oman Air
“I am very excited ahead of the first event, I think the opportunity to start something new and with a totally clear slate is going to be unreal. I have no doubt that a tight venue like we have in Singapore will be a baptism of fire, but as long as we keep our heads out of the boat and on the wind and our opposition then we can avoid major incident and learn a lot of lessons.”

Roman Hagara – Red Bull Sailing Team
“We welcome new crew members on board Red Bull Sailing in 2015. This change will give us the right push to perform better in 2015 and fight for the Series title. Singapore is a beautiful but tricky sailing location. One mistake and you are at the end of the fleet. One right maneuver and you win a race. Our goal is to finish the first Act within the top three.”

Phil Robertson – Gazprom Team Russia
“Gazprom Team Russia is going to sail with three Russians on board. The idea of the Gazprom programme right from day one has been to develop young national sailors so this is an exciting move for the team.

Extreme Sailing Series ™ 2015 Host Venues:
Act 1: Singapore, 5-8 February
Act 2: Muscat, Oman 11-14 March
Act 3: Qingdao, China 1-4 May
Act 4: Cardiff, UK 18-21 June
Act 5: Hamburg, Germany 23-26 July
Act 6: Saint Petersburg, Russia 20-23 August
Act 7: Istanbul, Turkey 1-4 October
Act 8: Australia 10-13 December

ESS website: http://www.extremesailingseries.com

Report by ESS media.

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