The boat park in Portorož is awash with international sailing talent as the teams entered into the inaugural Extreme 40 World Championship prepare their boats for action.
Five days of racing will kick off on Wednesday 14 July with the first of up to 15 Olympic style courses in the Bay of Portorož on the dynamic Extreme 40 catamarans based out of the Kempinski Palace Hotel.
Shirley Robertson skipper of Team BMW Great Britain is looking forward to the racing: « It’s a pretty special place here and great to come somewhere new, I’ve never been to Slovenia and it is an amazing hotel in front of an amazing race course. These boats will put on good show.
« The longer courses will give us more opportunity to show the boats off along the beautiful coast line and in many ways for the helmsman it is a joy to let the boat breathe. It’s like driving a fast car, always having to stop at junctions, but here we can put the pedal down, let it rip and as a helmsman that’s a complete joy. »
The ISAF endorsed World Championship has six teams lining up for the first ever event:
Mitch Booth, the co-creator of the Extreme 40 class is once again at the helm of The Ocean Racing Club, the home Slovenian Team. Joining Mitch is two of his regular Extreme 40 crew Dutchmen Ed van Lierde and Sander Speet, joined by Slovenian Tomaz Copi. Booth was out training with three other teams this afternoon. « It’s been another day of ideal conditions for what we expect the remainder of the World Championship to be. We practiced today with four teams and the stage is set for what we expect to be a fantastic week of racing. »
There are three double Olympic Gold Medalists in the fleet – Shirley Robertson, Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher. Robertson will represent Team BMW Great Britain, joined by regular Extreme 40 sailors Brits Will Howden and Andrew MacLean and Kiwi Matt Adams. Roman Hagara has been training hard since the opening event on the Extreme Sailing Series in Sète where they finished seventh overall with his Red Bull Extreme Sailing team. Hagara will be joined by his regular crew: Olympic tactician Hans Peter Steinacher, and Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup sailors Gabriele Olivo from Italy and David Vera from Spain.
Hans-Peter Steinacher, Tactician, Red Bull Extreme Sailing was looking forward to the longer, Olympic style courses the teams will face this week. « The format we are using here is what we are used to at the Olympics so it isn’t too long since we sailed like this so it will come back quickly to us. Boat speed is quite important so at the end we have to look at who is the quickest boat and who is coming easy out of the starts in the smoothest way.
Steinacher isn’t new to sailing in Slovenia having sailed all down the Adriatic coast « The Bay here in Portorož is excellent. It’s really nice weather, a great Marina, the hotel is great. I think to have an event here is great so if the wind conditions continue like this, it’s going to be spectacular. »