Extreme Sailing Returns to San Diego

Published on September 4th, 2018

The Extreme Sailing Series™, the world’s leading Stadium Racing series, returns to the USA for what promises to be another action-packed event on October 18-21 in San Diego, CA. Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck checks in with Matt Reynolds, CEO of Extreme San Diego, for an update.

What launched the idea to host the 2017 event?
In 2013 we helped USA45 Racing Team prepare for the 2013 Youth America’s Cup which including chartering an Extreme 40 from OC Sports, which is the group that owns the Extreme Sailing Series. This started a relationship which ultimately led to us inquiring about bringing an event to San Diego.

San Diego Bay has hosted big events like the America’s Cup World Series, but they’ve never been based on Harbor Island. What was the thinking behind that decision?
The ACWS venue was in front of downtown, and as much as we liked how their village was incorporating other things to enhance the spectator’s experience, the cruise ship piers were obstructing the race course sight lines. While downtown had the footfall, we wanted to deliver a better overall experience.

I knew the prevailing wind would provide unobstructed viewing at Harbor Island and we’ve been able to secure a significant footprint for the spectator village and event logistics. The big takeaway from 2017 is that for stadium sailing there is no better place for an event like this in San Diego … or perhaps the world.

You had breeze and sun last year. What’s the forecast for 2018?
Last year was amazing. The first day was a little on the light side but we still got six races in the 8-12 knots of breeze, which was plenty for the foiling GC32. The next three day saw 15-22 knots and the boats were flying just meters from shore. You put a big sailing event on, and you do all these things to make it great, but you can’t control the weather. However, the fall season can deliver so let’s hope it is a repeat of last year.

How has the event changed for 2018? What are you fired up about?
We have added a junior event on the water with the O’pen BICs which were also included during the 2017 America’s Cup and we are working to have the kiteboarders back as they put on quite a show last year. As for the village, there will be refinements on what we learned from year one which will include more kid/STEM based activities. The layout will be a little different but in general you can expect it be pretty similar to last year.

What’s the hot tip for anyone thinking of attending?
The venue is next to the airport, and we are surrounded by hotels and restaurants. It doesn’t get much easier so the hot tip is come to the venue and enjoy the experience. We have worked hard to make this an incredible spectator event, which has typically been hard in this sport. However, the Extreme Sailing Series can really change people’s perspective of this sport. I’m sure the locals are thinking about watching by boat but they will miss the fan vibe which comes from the land side of the event. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.

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2018 Extreme Sailing Series™ calendar
March 14-17 – Act 1 – Muscat, Oman
May 24-27 – GC32 World Championship, Lake Garda, Italy
June 14-17 – Act 3 – Barcelona, Spain
July 5-8 – Act 4 – Cascais, Portugal
August 24-27 – Act 5 – Cardiff, UK
October 18-21 – Act 6 – San Diego, USA
November 29-December 2 – Act 7, Los Cabos, Mexico

Background: The Extreme Sailing Series is in its twelfth season, with this year’s eight event tour travelling through Middle East, Europe and the Americas. The platform used is the one design foiling GC32 catamaran, with the format highlighting ‘stadium’ short-course racing in front of the public.

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