Countdown begins for Extreme Sailing Series™ San Diego debut

© Hilton San Diego Bayfront

The penultimate Act of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series™ starts in San Diego. The eight-strong fleet – including two US-flagged wildcard squads – will race in San Diego Bay, a new venue for the Series, as thousands watch from the public Race Village on Harbor Island from 19 – 22 October.

The Extreme Sailing Series will pick up where it left off in Cardiff in August, with a podium tight on points and everything to play for. The first six Acts of the season have seen an intense three-way battle between SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Oman Air and Alinghi, with each boasting a stint in pole position.

Current leader SAP Extreme Sailing Team is excited about the challenge of racing in San Diego, the second of three new venues this season alongside Barcelona, Spain, and Los Cabos, Mexico.

“We’re looking forward to going to the US and Mexico to mix it up a bit. When you go to a venue you have been to many times before it is like coming home, but with new venues you are more alert and observant and focused on trying to figure everything out as quick as you can,” said co-skipper Rasmus Køstner.

Currently just two points shy of the Danes, Oman Air’s skipper Phil Robertson is also looking forward to racing in California and remains characteristically calm and collected about the competition ahead.

“I am very excited about racing in San Diego Bay. It is big enough to get the boats ripping along but close enough to the shore to give spectators a great show,” said Robertson.

“We are feeling good at Team Oman Air. The pressure isn’t mounting at all; if anything, it is easing up as we settle into our groove. We have worked hard on improving every event and now it feels like it’s all falling into place,” he added.

Image: Lloyd Images

Defending champion Alinghi, whose crew currently have a five-point deficit on the leader, have been putting in the groundwork since the last Act – including claiming victory in the D35 Trophy on Lake Geneva for the sixth time.

“The team has been sailing a lot since Cardiff. We’ve also been trying to improve our sailing for San Diego by watching back some of our video footage from previous events and making plans,” said co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis. “We’re feeling very laid back and quite happy to go into the final couple of Acts.”

Red Bull Sailing Team – currently in fourth – returns with its trusty crew roster spearheaded by double Olympic gold-medal winning duo Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, while British-flagged Land Rover BAR Academy – currently bottom of the table – once again rotates its team line-up amongst the young triallists.

NZ Extreme Sailing Team helm Josh Junior will be joined by fellow Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup crewmate Andy Maloney on bow. Maloney previously competed in the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series with Oman Air, before the Series made the switch from the Extreme 40 displacement catamaran to the foiling GC32.

US wildcard Lupe Tortilla Demetrio will make its debut in the Series in San Diego, having competed at the previous four Acts as part of the Flying Phantom Series, and will also race in Act 8, Los Cabos. Find out more about the new challenger here. Details of the second wildcard entry will be released in the coming days.

The on-water Stadium Racing programme will be complemented by the inaugural Extreme San Diego Foil Kiteboarding Invitational, featuring some of the sport’s hottest talent battling for $20,000 in prize money. The impressive line-up includes three-time world champion Johnny Heineken and US Sailing’s 2017 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, Daniela Moroz.

“I’m really excited to come to San Diego to race alongside some of the best sailors in the world. The last time I kited in San Diego Bay was on a race board during the America’s Cup World Series, and now I’ll be foil racing – we’ve come so far since then,” said Heineken.

“Having a large organisation like OC Sport [founder and organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series] behind us, and working with the Extreme San Diego team, has exceeded my expectations in being able to develop a world class event,” said Nico Landauer, who has been influential in the organisation of the championship and who will take part in the competition next week.

The kiteboarding championship will start daily from 12:00 UTC-7, followed by GC32 Stadium Racing from 13:30 UTC-7 on Thursday 19 October and from 14:00 UTC-7 from Friday 20 – Sunday 22 October. Fans can follow the action via the official social media accounts and the live blog on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 October. Racing will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October from 14:00 – 17:00 UTC-7.

The on-water action will be accompanied by a packed on-shore entertainment schedule for the free-to-enter Race Village, located at Harbor Island Park. With a range for activities, from a dedicated kids’ zone to a virtual reality GC32 experience, as well as a variety of food and drink stalls, there is something for everyone. Visit the official website for more information about timings and location.

Friday 20 October will be Military Appreciation Day, when members of the armed forces are offered free admission for themselves and a guest to the VIP Foiling Club with a valid military ID, while Saturday 21 is a dedicated family day.

Crew line-up for 2017 Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 7, San Diego, USA

Alinghi (SUI)
Co-skipper/helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician/mainsail trimmer: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Headsail trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Floater/foil trimmer: Timothé Lapauw (FRA)

Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR)
Skipper/bowman: Rob Bunce (GBR)
Helm: Owen Bowerman (GBR)
Mainsail trimmer: Elliot Hanson (GBR) / Will Alloway (GBR)
Headsail trimmer: Oli Greber (GBR)
Floater: Adam Kay (GBR)

Lupe Tortilla Demetrio (USA)
Skipper/helm: John Tomko (USA)
Crew: Jonathan Atwood (USA)
Crew: Matthew Whitehead (USA)
Crew: Tripp Burd (USA)
Crew: Trevor Burd (USA)

NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL)
Skipper/mainsail trimmer: Graeme Sutherland (NZL)
Helm: Josh Junior (NZL)
Headsail trimmer: Harry Hull (NZL)
Foil trimmer: Josh Salthouse (NZL)
Bowman: Andy Maloney (NZL)

Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/helm: Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail trimmer: Ed Smyth (NZL/AUS)
Bowman: James Wierzbowski (AUS)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)

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: Will Tiller (NZL)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-skipper/coach: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-skipper/tactician/mainsail trimmer: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Helm: Adam Minoprio (NZL)
Headsail trimmer: Pierluigi de Felice (ITA)
Bowman: Richard Mason (GBR)
Trim assist/grinder: Mads Emil Stephensen (DEN)

2017 Extreme Sailing Series™ overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 66 pts
2nd Oman Air (OMA) 64 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI) 61 pts
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 56 pts
5th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) 48 pts
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 47 pts

2017 Extreme San Diego Kiteboard Invitational line-up

Oliver Bridge (GBR)
Kai Calder (USA)
Will Cyr (USA)
Riley Gibbs (USA)
Florian Gruber (GER)
Johnny Heineken (USA)
Julien Kerneur (FRA)
Bryan Lake (USA)
Nico Landauer (URU)
Axel Mazella (FRA)
Daniela Moroz (USA)
Joey Pasquali (USA)
Ty Reed (USA)
Stefaans Viljoen (RSA)
Tony Vodisek (SLO)