In one week’s time, the Extreme Sailing Series™ fleet of seven hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans will descend on Barcelona for the third Act of the 2018 circuit.
Four days of foiling action off the Catalonian coastline is set to thrill the Spanish crowds, as the elite-level international crews battle it out for a Barcelona Act win.
A prestigious venue offering up a mixed bag of conditions, from calm seas, thermal winds and big swells, Barcelona poses a string of challenges for the sailors. “You can get a massive swell, and there is a rock pool which the swell bounces off,” explained Phil Robertson, skipper of Oman Air, winners of last year’s Barcelona Act. “It’s a tricky little spot – it can be light airs but it can also blow dogs off chains, so it’s pretty cool.”
Current Series frontrunners SAP Extreme Sailing Team will be looking to extend their overall lead in Barcelona. It’ll be all eyes on their new helm, multihull expert Morgan Larson from the USA, who joins the team for this Act as a temporary replacement for Kiwi Adam Minoprio – the team’s regular and highly successful helm who is unable to attend Act 3.
Austrian squad Red Bull Sailing Team will also be a hot tip for a Barcelona Act win, having finished second in the Act last year. The team’s Sport Director, Hans Peter Steinacher, is looking forward to the fight and is confident that his crew can out-perform the fleet once again.
“Last year Barcelona was great,” he reminisced. “We nearly won and that’s the goal for the 2018 Barcelona Act too. We think we can do it. It’s one of the most famous cities in the world and sailing in front of the crowds, with the backdrop and with great sailing conditions, it fully fits with the whole idea of the Extreme Sailing Series. It’s one of our best venues.”
Steinacher isn’t the only one who speaks fondly of the local crowds. Arnaud Psarofaghis, co-skipper and helm on board Alinghi, believes the crowds offer motivation to the teams when they need it most.
“You can hear them cheering, which is great,” he said. “It’s nice that we can show people what we do. They really enjoy it and that spurs us on.”
Despite Alinghi’s brilliant start to the season in Muscat, Oman, where they took the first Act win of 2018, the squad toppled off the top spot last month at the GC32 World Championship, finishing fourth in the Extreme Sailing Series rankings – one place ahead of British challenger, INEOS Rebels UK. They’ll be looking to climb the ranks again in Barcelona.
The regulars on the circuit will be joined by local team Spanish Impulse – a crew of Olympic hopefuls and sailors with Extreme Sailing Series experience from past campaigns, who plan to take their home waters by storm. Adding an element of the unknown to the competition, this wildcard team will keep the fleet on its toes as they race around the blue waters of Barcelona under the Spanish sun.
The eight-strong fleet of Flying Phantoms will also race in Barcelona. The third Act of the Flying Phantom Series will see the teams fight to knock Team France Jeune off the top of the podium, following two Act wins in Muscat, Oman and Quiberon Bay, France.
The Flying Phantom fleet is due to begin racing at 10:00 CEST on Thursday 14th June, with the GC32s starting slightly later at 15:00 CEST.
A free-to-enter public Race Village, located next to Marina Vela and the famous W Hotel Barcelona, is sure to bolster the crowds watching the racing. Visitors can grab a bite to eat at the Van Van food truck market or enjoy a refreshing beer at the public bar, both provided by Estrella Damm.
Public commentary is available to keep everyone up to date with the action on the racecourse, with sound provided by Extreme Sailing Series Official Audio Supplier, Neuron. Act 3, Barcelona is hosted by the FNOB (Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona).
2018 Extreme Sailing Series™ overall standings
1. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN), Rasmus Køstner, 23 points.
2. Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, 21 pts.
3. Oman Air (OMA), Phil Robertson, 21 pts.
4. INEOS Rebels UK (GBR), Will Alloway, 19 pts.
5. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT), Roman Hagara, 16 pts.
6. Team México (MEX), Erik Brockmann, 13 pts.
Extreme Sailing Serires™ Act 3, Barcelona line-up
Co-skipper/Helm – Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician/Mainsail trimmer – Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Headsail trimmer – Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman – Yves Detrey (SUI)
Foil trimmer- Timothé Lapauw (FRA)
INEOS Rebels UK (GBR)
Skipper/Headsail trimmer – Will Alloway (GBR)
Helm – Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Mainsail trimmer – Mark Spearman (GBR)
Float/Trimmer – Adam Kay (GBR)
Bowman – Oli Greber (GBR)
Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm – Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer – Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer – Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Bowman – Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)
Bowman – James Wierzbowski (AUS)
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper – Roman Hagara (AUT)
Sport Director – Hans Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Helm – Chris Taylor (GBR)
Mainsheet – Ed Powys (GBR)
Trimmer – Rhys Mara (AUS)
Bowman – Dan Morris (USA)
Flight control – Neil Hunter (GBR)
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Skipper/Tactician/Mainsheet – Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Helm – Morgan Larson (USA)
Headsail Trimmer – Pierluigi de Felice (ITA)
Bowman – Richard Mason (GBR)
Trim Assist/Grind – Julius Hallström (SWE)
Team México (MEX)
Skipper/Foil Trimmer – Erik Brockmann (MEX)
Helm – James Peters (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer – Alex Higby (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer – Tom Buggy (GBR)
Bowman – Danel Belausteguigoitia (MEX)
Spanish Impulse (ESP)
Skipper/Helm – Diego Botín (ESP)
Mainsail trimmer – Joan Cardona (ESP)
Headsail trimmer – Luís Brito (POR)
Bowman – Kevin Cabrera (ESP)
Foil trimmer/Floater – Florian Trittel (ESP)
by Extreme Sailing Series