On 13 July 2010, the stunning bay of Portorož on the Adriatic Coast will be centre stage for the Extreme 40 teams lining up for the inaugural Extreme 40 World Championship. Hosted by The Ocean Racing Club, the teams will be put through their paces over six days of Olympic style fleet races, starting at the world-renowned Kempinski Palace Hotel.
The 40-foot lightweight and super-fast catamarans have become the hottest fleet on the international racing scene and attract many of the world’s best sailors. From double Olympic Gold medallists to Record Breakers, Round the World Yacht Racers to World Champions, many of the sailors have experienced racing in the Extreme Sailing Series over the last four years at events around the globe which see the fleet race on short, tight race courses within touching distance of the thousands of spectators that come to watch this impressive and entertaining fleet that has revolutionised the way sailing is seen.
The World Championship courses will test the tenacity and skill of the skippers and crews in another way, as the teams race in more conventional long-distance fleet racing.
Five teams have formally announced their crew lists, with five more to be announced over the coming days: Red Bull Extreme Sailing, skippered by double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara and joined by his tactician, Hans Peter Steinacher; a return to the Extreme 40 circuit for another double Olympic Gold Medallist, Shirley Robertson, with Team England; Extreme 40 co-creator Mitch Booth on The Ocean Racing Club; newcomer to the Extreme 40 fleet, Team Hungary skippered by two-times German Tornado national champion Johannes Polgar and finally the French-owned Extreme 40 LUNA skippered by former Tornado World Champion Andreas Hagara, brother of Roman.
Australian/Dutch Olympic Bronze and Silver Medallist Mitch Booth, will be skippering the Slovenian entry into the inaugural World Championship, alongside Olympian Tomaz Copi. « Portorož is a perfect venue for the long-distance races we are expecting to face, » he commented. « The races are far longer than those normally held in the Extreme Sailing Series circuit. Rather than the 15 minutes sprints we are used to, these will feel like marathons, each lasting up to 40 minutes. It will test us both physically and mentally to the max. »
The schedule of racing will be for six days, from 13 – 18 July, with the teams exploring every inch of the Bay of Portorož, on the longer fleet races.
Michael Reardon Director of The Ocean Racing Club, has followed the success of the European and Asian Extreme Sailing Series with interest, and when the opportunity arose to host the first ever World Championship event, he seized the opportunity to get involved. « We hope we will inspire Slovenian sailors to achieve at the very highest levels. The depth of experience across the fleet is awe inspiring – six Olympic Gold Medals, five round the world navigations and 21 World Championship titles are just some of the accolades they hold between them. It’s an honour to be welcoming a fleet of such talent.
« By hosting events of international ISAF approved standards, we feel that this will showcase the region, and attract other high-level sailing events and teams, including in the future we hope, an entry into the Volvo Ocean Race, » he concluded.