Now in its fifth season, the Extreme Sailing Series is a unique concept: the vessels are Extreme 40 catamarans, all identical and capable of speeds over 70 kilometres an hour, and the eleven teams include crews of the calibre of Alinghi and Luna Rossa. These world-class teams bring the action to the public, with races run on courses in three continents, not on the high seas, but always located close to cities and towns, where the excitement takes place just a scant few metres from the shore.
The teams, comprising some of the best sailors in the world including Olympic medalists and winners of the America's Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race battle it out, almost within reach of the viewers who can watch these state-of-the-art multihulls skim the waves in an elegant choreography – or, depending on crew skills and weather and sea conditions, in a less than elegant breath-taking dodge and weave with hair-raising near misses and spectacular crashes and capsizes!
Both experts and amateurs have already watched and marvelled at the magic in the Omani port of Muscat, at Qingdao in China, at Istanbul, Boston and, of course at Cowes, the almost legendary English setting for yacht races. Now, fresh from the meeting at the historic Sicilian town of Trapani, in mid-September they are heading for Nice where the event starts on Wednesday 28th September. Then it will be the turn of Almeria in southern Spain, where the final races of the European leg of the 2011 circuit will be run between 12th and 16th October before the final events in Singapore in December.
At the core of the Extreme Sailing Series ethos is the aspiration to mix open-water racing with 'stadium' short-course racing where the public are right there and in on the action as it happens. As well as the multi-competitor races themselves, there will be speed tests, one-on-one encounters and highly-skilled tacking events where the slightest mistake can result lost time and points. There are even fifth-man hot-seats available on these authentic “Formula 1” of the high seas, where a guest can join the crew for an even closer view of the proceedings!
Extreme Sailing Series