In one week’s time the Extreme Sailing Series™ will make its debut in the iconic capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona, for the fourth stage of the 2017 season.
The international fleet of GC32s will be bolstered by Spanish-flagged wildcard entry FNOB Impulse, skippered by local Olympian Jordi Xammar, as it races off the shore of the Race Village located next to the W Barcelona hotel in the Barceloneta area from 20 – 23 July.
Following its crowd-pleasing inauguration at Act 3 in Madeira Islands two weeks ago, the Flying Phantom Series returns as part of the on-water line-up, alongside the GC32 Stadium Racing.
The previous Act saw SAP Extreme Sailing Team take its second win of 2017, however Swiss-flagged Alinghi remains one point ahead on the season leaderboard and co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis has faith in his team’s ability to maintain its top spot as the Series heads into its halfway stage.
‘We feel confident that we can beat SAP Extreme Sailing Team in Barcelona and get some more points on the leaderboard,’ said Psarofaghis.
‘It’s really good to be going to Spain, and it will be really exciting to compete in a new venue. It will be the first time that I’ve raced in Barcelona, but we have Nicolas Charbonnier on the team who sailed for a few days in Barcelona during his 470 Olympic campaign,’ added Psarofaghis, whose crew is made up of some of Switzerland and France’s finest sailing talent.
Co-skipper of SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Rasmus Køstner is also confident that the Danish-flagged squad can repeat its success in Madeira Islands.
‘When you have done it once you can do it again, but we know that there will be a lot of teams fighting even harder in Barcelona for the top spot. All we can do is keep improving our game and focus on the what we believe are the most important elements.’
Oman Air rounds off the 2017 leaderboard in third, having consistently placed third at every Act so far, with 2016 World Match Racing Tour champion Phil Robertson at the helm.
For Red Bull Sailing Team’s skipper, four-time Olympian Roman Hagara, the Spanish venue is significant as he competed there during the 1992 Olympics, 25 years ago this summer.
What a location! We can’t wait to race in Barcelona and I am sure that we will have thousands of people watching the racing from the shore,’ said Hagara, whose team is yet to finish on the podium this season and currently sits in fourth overall.
‘Our goal is clear; to finish in the top three,’ he added.
The racing will take place in open water just metres from the shore, providing a spectacular stadium-style show for on-shore spectators but also allowing the world-class crews to fully harness the power of the hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans.
‘We are looking forward to sailing in Barcelona; a great venue where we can stretch our wings a bit more,’ said Graeme Sutherland, co-skipper of NZ Extreme Sailing Team, which is currently sixth overall, two points shy of fifth placed Land Rover BAR Academy.
‘Our coach Rod Davis won a silver medal during the 1992 Olympic Games in these waters so we will be digging up all his old notes to provide some insights into the venue,’ added Sutherland.
The local wildcard entry FNOB Impulse is headed up by Barcelona born Jordi Xammar, who is accompanied by a stellar line-up of Spanish sailors who all recently competed in the 2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
The free entry public Race Village will be located in front of the impressive structure of the W Barcelona hotel on the Plaça Rosa dels Vents in the Barceloneta neighbourhood and is open daily from 10:00 – 19:00 UTC+2, offering front row seats for the action along with other on shore entertainment.
2017 Extreme Sailing Series™ overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 34 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 33 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) 30 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 26 points.
5th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 25 points.
6th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) 23 points.
by Extreme Sailing Series