Hamburg to host Extreme Sailing Series
Published on July 21st, 2016
After three action-packed Acts in Oman, China and Wales, the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ season is now approaching the halfway mark. The fleet of GC32s will now take to the waters of Germany’s “Gateway to the World”, the Port of Hamburg, for Act 4 on July 28-31.
With around 10,000 vessels paying a visit to the Port of Hamburg each year, the fleet of seven hydro-foiling GC32s will race in one of Europe’s busiest ports on the waters of the River Elbe for the second time in the Series’ history.
To accommodate the introduction of the new fleet of boats the race area has been expanded slightly, allowing more room for manoeuvre in the super-fast GC32s. But, with the harbour walls enclosing the course, racing will still be at close quarters.
“The GC32s performed well in the close confines of Cardiff stadium setting last month, but the crews will face the additional challenge of strong tidal currents in Hamburg. I am expecting very close racing, with the mixed conditions throwing up some surprise results,” said Race Director, Phil Lawrence.
One team that knows better than most the impact that the shifty conditions on the River Elbe can have is SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Caught out by a gust midway through a gybe last year, the Danes took the plunge with a dramatic capsize, on a day which saw thunderstorms and winds of up to 30 knots (56 km/h).
“Despite the drama of a capsize and a huge collision we still finished on the podium and there were lots of things about our performance that we will try to repeat this time. We are getting more experienced in the GC32 and look forward to some close racing,” commented co-skipper Rasmus Køstner.
“In Cardiff we proved we could put four days of good performances together and we are getting more and more of the small details right. We will keep pushing and keep improving,” continued Køstner, whose team pocketed their first podium finish in Cardiff last month, and currently sit in fourth on the leaderboard.
As the fleet enters the fourth Act of the eight-Act 2016 season, the teams have found their feet in the GC32s. However two teams dominate the leaderboard.
Oman Air and Red Bull Sailing Team have both secured podium spots at every Act, and heading into Hamburg, Oman Air maintain their lead, but Red Bull Sailing Team, skippered by double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara, are snapping at their heels.
Due to an injury putting him out of action, Hagara did not compete in the 2015 Hamburg Act, making this his Series debut at the venue, but the Austrian skipper already has plans to dominate the weekend.
“We plan to sail on the limit, constantly progressing and not making any mistakes. Oman Air may be the season favourites but we, along with the rest of the fleet, will put up a fight,” said Hagara, whose team currently sits only three points behind Oman Air.
“Hamburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe but at the same time, for a sailor, it is a very challenging venue. The course itself is very narrow, particularly for the use of high-speed foiling boats, and the shifting wind conditions, caused by the tall buildings along the shore, add to the challenge,” added Hagara.
With this being the second time Hamburg has hosted the Series, the tricky venue is still relatively new to all of the teams, which levels the playing field between stalwarts and newcomers.
“A new or less well-known venue makes it difficult to prepare, to set your strategy and to execute it. You need to put an effort into understanding the racecourse during racing. A good coach, and a set-up where new information can quickly be adapted into the race strategy, really helps,” commented Køstner.
Land Rover BAR Academy once again see a reshuffle in the team roster, as British Academy trialist Elliot Hansen makes his debut, but Neil Hunter, the youngest skipper in the fleet at 21, remains in charge.
Fans online can watch the racing live on the official website from 1600-1730 GMT+2 on July 30 and 1530-1700 GMT+2 on July 31.
The Line-Up – Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Hamburg
Skipper/Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Floater: Timothé Lapauw (FRA)
CHINA One (CHN)
Skipper/Helm: Taylor Canfield (ISV)
Tactician/Bowman: Chris Steele (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Hayden Goodrick (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Garth Ellingham (NZL)
Floater: Shane Diviney (IRL)
Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR)
Skipper/Bowman: Neil Hunter (GBR)
Helm: Owen Bowerman (GBR)/Elliot Hansen (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Will Alloway (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Oliver Greber (GBR)/ Adam Kay (GBR)
Floater: Rob Bunce (GBR)
Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (NZL/AUS)
Bowmen: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA) & James Wierzbowski (AUS)
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Mainsail Trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Adam Piggott (GBR)
Bowman: Brad Farrand (NZL)
Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR)
Skipper/Helm: Diogo Cayolla (POR)
Mainsail Trimmer Trimmer: Javier de la Plaza (ESP)
Headsail Trimmer: Nuno Barreto
Bowman: Luís Brito (POR)
Floater: João Matos Rosa (POR)
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Mainsail Trimmer: Mads Emil Stephensen (DEN)
Headsail Trimmer: Pierluigi De Felice (ITA)
Bowman: Renato Conde (POR)
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2016 overall results
1 Oman Air (OMA) 35 points
2 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 32 points
3 Alinghi (SUI) 30 points
4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 25 points
5 Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 25 points
6 CHINA One (CHN) 21 points
7 Sail Portugal-Visit Madeira (POR) 20 points
8 Team Turx (TUR) 11 points
March 16-19 – Muscat, Oman
April 29-May 2 – Qingdao, China
June 23-26 – Cardiff, UK
July 28-31 – Hamburg, Germany
September 1-4 – St Petersburg, Russia
September 22-25 – Madeira Islands, Portugal
October 6-9 – Lisbon, Portugal
December 8-11 – Australia (location TBD)
Background: The Extreme Sailing Series is in its tenth season, with this year’s eight event tour travelling through Asia, Europe, and Australia. The platform used is the one design foiling GC32 catamaran, with the format highlighting ‘stadium’ short-course racing in front of the public. ESS website: http://www.extremesailingseries.com