The Spanish city of Almeria, in the region of Andalucia, will play host to Act 8 of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series from 12 -16 October - the perfect setting for the penultimate Act of the 2011 series which will bear witness to the passions of the 11 Extreme 40 teams as they battle for victory not only in Spain, but with a 'strategic eye' on the end game to claim overall victory in the 2011 series at the final event in Singapore.
For the last two years, Almeria has been the setting for the final event of the circuit and many of the sailors know the venue well. The Extreme Race Village is located in the Port of Almería, right in the heart of the city, and traditionally Almeria has delivered fantastic 'stadium' racing conditions - good breeze, intense competition, drama and plenty of close calls.
It is the French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who now lead the 2011 Overall Extreme Sailing Series, after the victory at the last round in Nice, just 2 points ahead of the Italian team Luna Rossa helmed by Paul Campbell-James who was at the helm of The Wave, Muscat when they claimed overall victory last year. Luna Rossa skipper, Max Sirena, said, "We are still in the game being second for the 2011 championship. We need to do better in Almería to have a chance to win in Singapore."
Spanish Tornado Olympic gold medalist and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2005 Antón Paz will race with Team Extreme on home soil with fellow Olympic bronze medalist Roland Gaebler as skipper: "I am really looking forward to returning to Almería after my first experience at the Extreme Sailing Series in 2009,"
said Paz. "The stadium racing format is a real show and a big asset to our sport and Almería always welcomes the teams with open arms, so we hope the regatta will be a good one. I have sailed against Roland Gaebler many times but never with him, so it will be an honour for me to be part of his crew as he is a legend in Olympic sailing."
A new multinational team, Team TILT, will also race at the event, with Swiss multihull lake sailor Alex Schneiter as skipper. He will be joined by tactician Boet Brinkgreve (NED), trimmer Charles Favre (SUI) and bowman Nicolas Heintz (FRA). Britain's three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie (GBR) will be skippering Oman Air again in his final Extreme 40 event before returning to his 2012 Olympic Finn campaign and Adam Beashel will be at the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand in place of Dean Barker.
Built and designed around its harbour, Almería has always looked to the sea. The city grew in terms of regional influence, and the most visible symbol of that golden era, the Alcazaba castle, is today the second largest Moorish fortress of Andalucía behind the legendary Alhambra in neighbouring Granada. The economic growth has been particularly spectacular during the 20th century with the development of extensive agriculture, Almería becoming one of Europe's biggest orchards, while tourism certainly played an important part in the city's expansion.
Hosting the Mediterranean Games in 2005 was an important step, and welcoming the Extreme Sailing Series for the third year is part of the regional government's objective to position Almería as an international reference on the world map of sailing. "The Andalusian government wishes to bring to our region a series of top sporting events that give the tourism season continuity and generate a sport and tourism flow that has a clear positive economic impact for Andalucía,"
said Luciano Alonso, Tourism, Trade and Sports Counselor for Andalusian government. "It is with great satisfaction that we welcome the Extreme Sailing Series to Almería again. This competition holds a clear advantage compared to other sailing events. All the action happens a few metres away from the spectators allowing the public to watch the competition from very close. I wish to invite everyone in Almería and those who love the sport of sailing to enjoy the regattas so the Port of Almería becomes a natural stadium for sailing."
Extreme 40 crew list for Almería:
Skipper/Tactician: Tanguy Cariou (FRA) / Helm: Yann Guichard (FRA) / Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI) / Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Emirates Team New Zealand
Skipper/Helm: Adam Beashel (AUS) / Tactician: Ray Davies (NZL) / Trimmer: Jeremy Lomas (NZL) / Bowman: Derek Seward (NZL)
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
Skipper/Helm: Pierre Pennec (FRA) / Traveler: Christophe Espagnon (FRA) / Trimmer: Thierry Fouchier (FRA) / Bowman: Hervé Cunningham (FRA)
Skipper/Tactician: Max Sirena (ITA) / Helm: Paul Campbell-James (GBR) / Trimmer: Alister Richardson (GBR) / Bowman: Manuel Modena (ITA)
Skipper/Helm: Alberto Barovier (ITA) / Tactician: Stefano Rizzi (ITA) / Trimmer: Daniele De Luca (ITA) / Bowman: Simone De Mari (ITA)
Skipper/Helm: Ben Ainslie (GBR) / Tactician: Kinley Fowler (NZL) / Trimmer: David Carr (GBR) / Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT) / Tactician: Hans Peter Steinacher (AUT) / Trimmer: Matt Adams (GBR) / Bowman: Craig Monk (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Roland Gaebler (GER) / Tactician: Nahid Gaebler (DEN) / Trimmer: Antón Paz (ESP) / Bowman: Tom Buggy (GBR)
Team GAC Pindar
Skipper/Helm: Ian Williams (GBR) / Tactician: Mischa Heemrskerk (NED) / Trimmer: Andrew Walsh (GBR) / Bowman: Brad Webb (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Alex Schneiter (SUI) / Tactician: Boet Brinkgreve (NED) / Trimmer: Charles Favre (SUI) / Bowman: Nicolas Heintz (FRA)
The Wave, Muscat
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR) / Tactician: Kyle Langford (AUS) / Trimmer: Nick Hutton (GBR) / Bowman: Khamis Al Anbouri (OMA)