Nick MOLONEY (AUS) - BT, Mike GOLDING - Ecover, Yann GUICHARD (FRA) - Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild, Franck CAMMAS (FRA) - Groupama, Loïck PEYRON (FRA) - Oman Sail's Renaissance, Carolijn BROUWER (BEL) - Holmatro, Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR) - iShares, Erik MARIS (FRA) - LUNA, Pete CUMMING (GBR) - Oman Sail's Masirah and John KOSTECKI (USA), representing skipper James SPITHILL (AUS), from BMW ORACLE Racing gave their impressions of the iShares Cup season ahead. Over 150 media and guests gathered at the Parc Nautique de l'île de Monsieur.
Gilles CHIORRI, OC Events Director said, "It has been great to officially launch the iShares Cup 2009 and we extend thanks to Voiles de Seine and very much appreciate the presence of François KOSCIUSKO-MORIZET, Mayor of Sèvres, Deputy Mayor of Boulogne Billancourt, Pierre-Christophe BAGUET and Jean-Pierre CHAMPION, President of the French Sailing Federation (FFV)."
Rick ANDREWS, Head of iShares Marketing, Europe said, "As the title partner to the iShares Cup, we have had a great two years so far and are looking forward to the third season of the Extreme 40 Series which we are sure will go to another level in terms of sporting competiveness and reaching an even wider audience. It's a great experience; for our clients to go out racing on the boats is really exceptional experience, the media coverage provides a great return - we even have a 60-foot billboard out racing on the water, so we are very happy. The iShares Cup is about teamwork, strategy and passion - that's what we believe in at iShares. To lead from the front, promoting cutting edge competition and a global presence - this sport and our business are well-matched."
The award-winning iShares Cup pan-European series will visit six major European destinations this season in Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain between May and October. Each regatta is made of up three days of competition with a media day held on the preceding day of each event. Up to 24 short and adrenalin-pumping races can be staged at each round, each race lasting just 15-20 minutes.
Attending the press conference today at the Parc Nautique de l'île de Monsieur, Sèvres, KOSCIUKSO-MORIZET, the Mayor of Sèvres, welcomed the skippers and international media, "I'm really glad to welcome the iShares Cup today at this fantastic venue dedicated to sailing in the heart of Paris. It's a great pleasure to have all these talented sailors and world champions with us today. I wish a great success to all of you for the season."
Forty sailors across 10 teams are now officially confirmed for the 2009 iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series. The world's best sailors, who between them have over 50 World Championship titles, 27 America's Cup participations, 17 Round the World navigations and 14 Olympic campaigns will be aspiring to lift the iShares Cup Overall Trophy at the end of the season in Andalucia.
Also announced today were the final two venues on the 2009 circuit. The iShares Cup at Cowes Week (1-3 August) will host the British round and Amsterdam, will see the penultimate event when the series returns for the third year to the IJ Haven Canal.
Quotes from the iShares Cup Skippers:
Franck CAMMAS, Groupama 40:
I first discovered the iShares Cup in Marseille two years ago. I find it amazing straight away. The boats are fast and extreme, the venues are amazing and you can share all that with the public which is just a couple of meters away from the race course. We all have a lot of fun and I'm really glad that Groupama wanted to get involved.
Yann GUICHARD, Gitana Extreme 40 - Groupe LCF Rothschild:
Gitana Team is involved since a very long time with sailing and they participate in almost all the greatest oceanic race with multihulls, big or small. When we proposed the iShares Cup project to the Baron de Rothschild he was really enthusiastic and we just decide to do it and join this amazing event and line up.
Loick PEYRON, Renaissance (Oman Sail):
I'm really glad to participate in the iShares Cup this season. The format of mixing the sport of sailing and the public is fantastic. The Extreme 40, well, it's a perfect name for the boat! They are perfect to deliver a close and crazy show to the public.
Nick MOLONEY, BT:
It's obviously difficult to pick out the two strongest teams especially from this line-up of skippers we have here today. I have a huge admiration for many sailors especially on the extreme side of the sport. But I guess for me, Loick Peyron and Franck Cammas are the two biggest threats on the circuit this season down to their pure knowledge of racing multihulls.
Pete CUMMING, Masirah (Oman Sail):
We've spent the last six months training in Oman this winter with our Omani squad from Oman Sail. One of the key objectives of Oman Sail is to reignite the country's maritime heritage and to inspire Omanis to take up the sport of sailing. We will have some of the Omani squad shadowing us for the 2009 iShares Cup season, taking the 5th man spots when they can as we continue their Extreme 40 training with the aim of having an Omani racing onboard the Extreme 40 full-time next season.
Carolijn BROUWER, Holmatro:
I competed in the circuit in 2007 but not in 2008 as I was competing in the Olympic Tornado class but, for sure, the level has sky-rocketed since I started in the Extreme 40 class.
Shirley ROBERTSON, iShares:
I'm really looking forward to this season. Racing for iShares this season, I have a new crew includ ing Hugh Styles who raced the boat last year and he is really my right-hand man and a veteran Tornado sailor so he is teaching me! The calibre of sailors just gets better and the venues just get smaller - it's going to be an interesting iShares Cup this year!
Mike GOLDING, Ecover:
Well, I definitely like a challenge and the iShares Cup will be one, for sure. I've watched the circuit grow and there really is not other circuit that exists in our sport like this one with such an eclectic mix of sailors on one race course. It's the perfect fit for Ecover and it goes to every target market so a great corporate fit. On a personal level, I thought it would be a great thing to do and I get a lot of pleasure sailing with a crew. Really looking forward to the iShares Cup Venice - I think it will be a sensory overload!
John KOSTECKI, BMW ORACLE Racing:
It's important to be the best we can be and we'll be racing against the top field here. It will be the best experience in the short period of time we have [Note to Ed: until the start of the next America's Cup] and we definitely want to win the iShares Cup!
2009 Entries iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) - James SPITHILL (AUS)
BT (EUR) - Nick MOLONEY (AUS)
Holmatro (NED) - Carolijn BROUWER (BEL)
iShares (EUR) - Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR)
Gitana Extreme- Groupe LCF Rothschild (FRA) - Yann GUICHARD (FRA)
Groupama 40 (FRA) - Franck CAMMAS (FRA)
LUNA (FRA) - Erik MARIS (FRA)
Oman Sail Masirah (OMA) - Pete CUMMING (GBR)
Oman Sail Renaissance (OMA) - Loïck PEYRON (FRA)
The 2009 iShares Cup will visit:
Event 1 - Venice, Italy, 15-17 May
Event 2 - Hyères-TPM, France, 3-5 July
Event 3 - Cowes, United Kingdom, 1-3 August
Event 4 - Kiel, Germany, 28-30 August
Event 5 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25-27 September
Event 6 - Almería, Andalucía, 10-12 October
The iShares Cup is an ISAF Special Event. Find out more at www.isharescup.com.