Forty sailors across 10 teams are now officially confirmed for the 2009 series and it is anticipated that the competition will be intense in what has become sailing's hottest property.
Forget everything you thought you knew about sailboat racing, the iShares Cup is the perfect antidote to distant slow yacht confrontations! Bringing world-class combat up close and personal to the public since 2007, the iShares Cup is back in 2009 with yet more great names and six spectacular European venues.
Loïck PEYRON (FRA) and Franck CAMMAS (FRA), who are unrivalled in the oceanic multihull world. In addition to having five World Oceanic Multihull Champion titles to his name, PEYRON won The Artemis Transat in 2008 making it three career wins on the toughest solo transatlantic course and in doing so rising one step above French legend Eric TABARLY. PEYRON joined the Oman Sail project in March this year and will now be charge of his own Extreme 40, Renaissance, for this season.
CAMMAS holds the North Atlantic speed record and has recently been "teaching" the BMW ORACLE Racing team how to use their brand new maxi (90') trimaran. The young French skipper already had a taste of the iShares Cup having raced at the French event in 2007 and at Cowes last year, and wanted to come back for a full season with his long-term sponsor Groupama.
Double Olympic gold medallist Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR) will skipper Team iShares in 2009 and the Olympic contingent is also represented by Carolijn BROUWER (NED) on Holmatro, Yann GUICHARD (FRA) on Gitana Extreme- Groupe LCF Rothschild, Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) on BT and Pete CUMMING (GBR) with Chris DRAPER (GBR) on the helm of Oman Sail's second Extreme 40, Masirah - not to mention the plethora of Olympian crew members throughout the fleet, including the MOURNIAC brothers aboard Erik MARIS's (FRA) LUNA.
Australian Nick MOLONEY brings his eclectic experience as a round-the-world and America's Cup sailor back into the fray with BT, after finishing the 2008 iShares Cup on the podium.
Also coming from the prestigious world of the America's Cup, James SPITHILL (AUS) onboard BMW ORACLE Racing will be a real rival for the number one spot.
The final top-flight team will announce their participation in the coming weeks to make it ten teams in total coming head to head on the demanding, short and sometimes unconventional courses, competing so fiercely that heart-stopping close encounters always feature on the menu.
It's a show as well as top class racing and the public has full access to the action from the shore, in carefully chosen venues that combine challenging sailing conditions and spectator-friendly configurations.
Three of the European venues have been officially announced - Venice (ITA), Kiel (GER) and Almeria, Andalucía (ESP) - the remaining three venues in Great Britain, France and The Netherlands are confirmed and will be announced shortly.
Get ready for a great season of iShares Cup drama...
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:
Round 1 - Venice, Italy, 15-17 May
Round 2 - France, 3-5 July
Round 3 - Great Britain, 1-3 August
Round 4 - Kiel, Germany, 28-30 August
Round 5 - The Netherlands, 25-27 September
Round 6 - Almería, Andalucía, Spain, 10-12 October
The iShares Cup is an ISAF Special Event. Find out more at www.isharescup.com.