Act two of the Extreme Sailing Series kicks off tomorrow in Qingdao, China and we've got all the key facts that you need to know about the newest stop in the competition.
Qingdao is China’s fourth largest manufacturing port and known as the City of Sailing since staging the sailing programme of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as well as being selected as a stopover port for both the Volvo Ocean Race and the Clipper Race. The city is situated in the Shandong province in the east of China and was voted China's 'most livable city. It's also home to the Tsingtao Brewery – China's largest brewery.
In the lead
Act one of the Extreme Sailing Series was won by Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, who secured victory only in the final double-points race. Pierre Pennec’s crew were pushed hard by Artemis Racing and Red Bull Extreme Sailing, who finished second and third respectively at The Wave in Muscat, Oman. The teams in fourth to 11th places in order going into this week are Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa (Italy), Alinghi (Switzerland), The Wave Muscat (Oman), Oman Air (Oman), Team Extreme (Europe), Niceforyou (Italy), and GAC Pindar (Great Britain).
The Chinese public are sure to be out in force supporting Chinese sailor, William Wu, who will be joining Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme. William was part of the America’s Cup China Team, and joined the first Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Regatta in Auckland in 2009. As well as his passion for sailing, William is a regular marathon runner (best time approx 3.5 hours) and has a passion for mountaineering, climbing to a height of 6805m on Everest in 2004. William has never experienced anything like racing on board the super-light Extreme 40 catamaran that can reach a top speed of 46 mph [74 km/h] on a race course that is no bigger than six football pitches.
The Extreme 40 sailors have to adapt to the weather situation and at venues that do not follow the conventions of other sailing events, such as racing directly in front of the public in city centres, on canals, off beaches or on rivers. The teams must adapt quickly to their local environment and as we saw at Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat, the teams slower off the starting blocks were soon back in the mix. Red Bull's Hans-Peter Steinacher said: "We managed to surprise people with third place in Oman. They’ll be watching us more closely now because we’ve broken what was expected to be the dominance of the A-Cup teams."
Downwind (and upwind)
Act Two of the Extreme Sailing Series will see two days of ‘open water’ racing (April 13-14), allowing the race management to set true upwind and downwind courses without the confines of the stadium sailing format, which commences on April 15 for three days, with the 11-boat fleet racing right in front of the spectators. Including Sunday, there will be up to six races each day in Qingdao. The competition begins each day at 1 p.m. local time (8 a.m. Central European Time).
A new addition
The Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team will benefit from further venue experience of a new addition for Act Two of the competion, as they have added Will Howden to their team. Great Britain's Howden completes a squad that reads: Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Will Howden, Craig Monk. Hagara, Steinacher and Howden competed in the Tornado catamaran class in the 2008 Olympics.
The Qingdao International Sailing Centre was built for the Games of the 29th Olympiad and it's located on the old site of the Beihai shipyard by Qingdao's Fushan Bay. The Centre covers a total area of 45 hectares (450,000 sq.m.) and wind conditions vary greatly from very light winds to +15knots. The centre held both the Olympics and the Paralympic sailing competitions and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (USA), Rachael Cox (AUS) and Stacie Louttit (CAN) became the first three women to win Paralympic medals in sailing.
- Check out our water sports page
- Visit the official Extreme Sailing Series site
- Read more about the Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team here