Extreme Sailing Series™ sailors outshine competition in Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
Land Rover BAR Academy’s superb win for Great Britain in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda yesterday has rightly been praised by the sailing world, but nowhere more so than at OC Sport, the founder and organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series™.
The Land Rover BAR Academy squad, led by skipper Rob Bunce, pulled off a dramatic last gasp victory to beat New Zealand and Switzerland to the title. Bunce’s squad has been racing in the Extreme Sailing Series for the past two seasons and the experience it has gained in super-fast foiling catamarans has undoubtedly helped propel it to the title in Bermuda.
“Although the boats appear very different, they are actually sailed in very much the same way,” said Bunce, who acknowledged that the similarities between the Cup and the Extreme Sailing Series had helped his team get ahead of the game in Bermuda.
“The tight race courses and challenging venues of the Extreme Sailing Series mean that boat handling and decision making has to be spot on. I think the high-pressured environment it creates has put this team in very good stead,” he added.
Extreme Sailing Series Event Director, Andy Tourell congratulated Bunce and his team. “Rob and his crew sailed a great regatta and we are absolutely delighted for them,” he said.
Tourell added: “If you look at the teams that rose to the top in Bermuda over the past two weeks, they are the ones who have experience in our Series. That experience has given them invaluable skills in a professional racing circuit, where they have raced against some of the world’s best. The Extreme Sailing Series is the only sailing platform around that gives sailors the opportunity to test their skills with so much racing.”
The Extreme Sailing Series can see up to 40 races completed at each of the four-day Acts, meaning the sailors often compete in more races in just one day than are run across entire regattas.
“Whilst we have stretched the courses to optimise the performance profile of the GC32s, facilitating speeds of close to 40 knots, the tight, fast-paced Stadium Racing format still tests and allows the crews to hone their split-second decision making, faultless team dynamics and seamless manoeuvres, all things that are absolutely vital for success,” explained Tourell
“The pressure is so great, which is ultimately what has enabled these sailors to develop their skills to be in the best position going into the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup,” he added.
The Brits were not the only squad showcasing their prowess and finely-tuned skills on the Great Sound in Bermuda. The two other podium finishers also featured faces who at various times have competed in the Extreme Sailing Series.
Five of the eight sailors in the NZL Sailing Team squad had formed the team of the same name that competed as a wildcard in the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat earlier this year, as did Swiss-flagged Team Tilt. Overall a total of 26 of the sailors have previously raced in the Extreme Sailing Series and many of them are now on their way to Madeira Islands to compete on board the GC32s next week.
Another familiar face on the Kiwi team was Stewart Dodson, who has been a regular at the Extreme Sailing Series since 2013. Dodson currently competes for Red Bull Sailing Team alongside the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup’s inventors and Sports Directors, Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, one of the Series’ most experienced and long-standing teams.
The Extreme Sailing Series racing resumes at 14:00 on Thursday 29 June, when the fleet of seven international teams take to the water off the coast of the Madeira Islands capital, Funchal, for Act 3.
Spectators can watch for free from the public Race Village located at Pier 8, Marina Funchal, and fans across the globe can follow via the live blog. Racing will be streamed live from 14:00 – 17:00 on 1 and 2 July on the official Series’ Facebook and YouTube.