Russia to host Extreme Sailing Series
Published on August 25th, 2016
The Extreme Sailing Series™ fleet returns to St Petersburg on September 1-4 for the fifth Act of the season and one of the trickiest venues thus far.
The Neva River will be transformed into a Stadium Racecourse where the seven teams will race in front of the stunning backdrop of the Palace Embankment and Peter and Paul Fortress.
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is home-team Gazprom Team Russia, led by 2016 World Match Racing Tour champion, Phil Robertson.
“Last year St Petersburg lived up to my expectations as one of the most difficult race courses,” said Robertson, who raced onboard Gazprom Team Russia in the 2015 Act. “There is a big effect on the wind from the surrounding buildings. Throw a few knots of current in there and it can be a nightmare. But, as a venue, it is almost perfect. It’s smack in the centre of the city with the spectators close enough to see the whites of our eyes.”
Having just competed on Hamburg’s River Elbe in Act 4, the rest of the teams know all-too-well the difficulties of Stadium Racing on a river.
“It brings with it a whole load of different challenges,” said Land Rover BAR Academy skipper, Neil Hunter, who will sail in the Russian venue for the first time. “The reduced space means that we have to do more tacks and gybes which is very physical for the crew in these boats. It also means that we have to deal with a lot of current, so the racecourse is effectively moving the whole time.”
One outfit that returns to St Petersburg with something to prove is SAP Extreme Sailing Team, who finished in an unfamiliar last place at the 2015 Act in the city.
“We do have a bit of unfinished business in St Petersburg. Last year we were not prepared. We did too much sailing leading up to the race, had a major repair on our boat and were not settled and calm for the very difficult and unpredictable conditions. This year we have done our homework and look forward to righting the wrongs,” commented co-skipper and tactician Rasmus Køstner.
Arnaud Psarofaghis, helmsman of Alinghi, compared sailing on the narrow Neva River racecourse to racing a Formula One car around the streets of Monaco. Psarofaghis drove Lino Sonego Team Italia to second place in the 2015 St Petersburg Act.
“Last year was a very satisfying result and a good achievement. This will be the third time I’ve sailed on the Neva River, so me and all the guys are feeling good about what we can do in Russia,” commented Psarofaghis, who is doing his best to give Oman Air, skippered by Morgan Larson, a run for their money at the top of the leaderboard. “So many things can happen during the course of a race so, no matter where you are, it’s never over until it’s over.”
With only six points between frontrunners, Oman Air, second-placed Red Bull Sailing Team and third-placed Alinghi, victory is within reach for all three teams, and fans can look forward to some nail-biting action.
Meanwhile, Land Rover BAR Academy have SAP Extreme Sailing Team in their sights, as they look to close the three-point gap between them and fourth place.
Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira currently sit in seventh place overall but only four points behind the British team. The Portuguese team, who look ahead to two events on home waters in the coming months, has already shown their potential to upset the leaderboard with some strong individual results.
Missing their first event of the season is CHINA One (CHN) led by skipper/helm Taylor Canfield (ISV).
Act 5, St Petersburg, presented by SAP, will start on September 1, with the free-to-enter public Race Village situated on Zayachii Island, in front of Peter and Paul Fortress, offering the prime viewing spot for the Stadium Racing.
Fans online can watch the racing live on the official website and YouTube channel from 15:30 – 17:00 GMT+3 on September 3-4.
The Line-Up – Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5, St Petersburg, presented by SAP
Skipper/Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Floater: Timothé Lapauw (FRA)
Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Skipper/Helm: Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Will Tiller (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Shane Diviney (IRL)
Bowman: Victor Serezhkin (RUS)
Floater: Alexsey Kulakov (RUS)
Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR)
Skipper/Bowman: Neil Hunter (GBR)
Helm: Owen Bowerman (GBR)/Chris Taylor (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Will Alloway (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Sam Batten (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: Frederico Melo (POR)
Headsail Trimmer: Nuno Barreto (POR)
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) 47 points
2 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 42 points
3 Alinghi (SUI) 41 points
4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 34 points
5 Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 31 points
6 CHINA One (CHN) 29 points
7 Sail Portugal-Visit Madeira (POR) 27 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