After securing its third season podium in the Extreme Sailing Series™ last year, 2017 will see Red Bull Sailing Team return to compete in the adrenaline-fuelled Stadium Racing circuit, spearheaded by Austrian superstars Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher.
With a combination of highly experienced sailors and talented young chargers – including a standout newcomer – the Austrian team is hungry for its first championship title. The team will have eight Acts to out-sail the world’s best in what looks to be the most competitive season yet.
Two-time Olympic gold medallists, Hagara and Steinacher, will lead Red Bull Sailing Team in what will be its seventh year competing in the Extreme Sailing Series.
The introduction of new GC32 foiling catamarans in 2016 meshed with the mindset of the Austrian innovators, who delivered a powerfully consistent campaign, resulting in podium spots in seven out of eight Acts and third place overall.
But with the level of racing in the Series at an all-time high, the foiling will be fast and furious and the Austrians will need to fly through the season if they want to clinch an elusive championship title.
‘The 2017 season is going to be more competitive than ever before,’ said Hagara, aware that, with a foiling season under their belts, all the crews are now familiar with how the GC32s handle in a variety of conditions. ‘To be successful, we will have to beat the two-time America’s Cup champions, Alinghi’.
Indeed Alinghi – the current Extreme Sailing Series champions – and 2016 runners-up Oman Air are both returning to the fray so Red Bull Sailing Team will have its work cut out. However, having two of the Series’ most experienced sailors leading the campaign will stand the team in good stead.
Returning to the crew alongside the experienced Austrian duo are trimmer Stewart Dodson and bowman Adam Piggott, who both contributed to Red Bull Sailing Team’s medal effort last year.
On mainsheet is Will Tiller, a new addition to the outfit with previous experience in the Series as well as valuable match racing experience, having been part of the winning crew on the 2016 World Match Racing Tour. All three are graduates of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup programme. Having begun the 2016 season with little training time in the GC32, Steinacher is confident that this year Red Bull Sailing Team will start on the front foot, having had a productive training camp, with the technical team fine-tuning the boat to ‘perfect condition.’
‘I believe the experience that Roman and I bring to the table combined with our young guns can be the winning formula for 2017. We’re looking forward to a year full of great sailing in exciting locations,’ added Steinacher.
The Series will kick off in Muscat, Oman, from 8-11 March, where the teams will compete in a mix of signature Stadium Racing and coastal racing, set against the stunning backdrop of Muscat’s Old Town. Ahead of Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series, the team will also compete in the inaugural GC32 Championship.
Red Bull Sailing Team crew line-up for Act 1, Muscat
Skipper/helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Mainsail trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Headsail trimmer: Adam Piggott (GBR)
Bowman: Will Tiller (NZL)
by Extreme Sailing Series