The Extreme Sailing Series has revealed more about the sailors that will compete in the 2012 edition of the event. The format of the series means that some of the world’s best sailors are eager to compete including Olympians and World Champions.
The team rosters include world-renowned sailors from a multitude of backgrounds representing 9 different nationalities, but it’s hard to see which will emerge as the Rock-Stars with only a couple of weeks until the first round in Muscat Oman.
New faces include American double-Olympic Gold medalist Charlie Ogletree who briefly helmed the Chinese America’s Cup challenger, and five-times America’s Cup sailor, Bernard Labro from France.
Team ZouLou will have the current superstar of sailing, Loick Peyron at the helm for Acts 1–3 prior to team owner Erik Maris taking over. Peyron is one of France’s most well-known sports stars and a legendary multihull expert who recently shaved almost 3 days off the non-stop round the world Jules Verne record.
“I can’t wait to go back to the Extreme Sailing Series with ZouLou crew, and especially to Muscat where I already spent a few weeks with the local team in 2009 and 2010. After two round the world tours in one year [Barcelona World Race and Jules Verne] I am really looking forward to going back to this intense racing amongst these top level crews.“
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has retained their core team of Pierre Pennec on helm and Hervé Cunningham introducing two new faces on bow in the form of Bernard Labro and Jean-Christophe Mourniac who raced for another team in Singapore last December.
The Swiss team Alinghi will be helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli supported by the regular Extreme 40 Alinghi crew including Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey.
Meanwhile, the renowned Austrian duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher on the Red Bull Sailing Team have confirmed that Matthew Adams will be part of the regular racing crew and introduce ‘newbie’ Graeme Spence on bow. Spence is a regular member of Torvar Mirsky’s Match Racing Team and has also recently been on the bow of the China Team AC45.
GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams says:
“We have assembled a really strong team this year with a great mix of different skill sets. The only real opportunities to practice will be before the first event in Oman and before Act 5 in Cardiff so having a consistent team will be crucial to improving from event to event.”
Buried at the bottom of the press release is perhaps the most interesting piece of information about the 2012 format. It says:
In a test aimed at keeping opportunities open for new talent, the teams will race Act 1 with five sailors rather than four, plus a VIP guest or media person when appropriate. This additional 5th sailor must be either female or under 23, or be classified as an amateur by ISAF. Both The Wave and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will sail with female sailors as a result – Rachel Williamson and Adeline Chatelet respectively – the first girls to race since Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson skippered ‘iShares’ in 2009.