OC Events, organisers of the European Extreme 40 Sailing Series the iShares Cup, has announced today the creation of the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia to be staged between November 2009 and March 2010. The first year of the Asian series will include events in Hong Kong, Singapore and Oman with the possibility of a fourth venue to be confirmed, and with a plan to grow this to a six-event series by 2011/12. Bids have already been received for the future series from a number of other venues across Asia.
After the spectacular finale of the six-stage European iShares Cup circuit last weekend in Almería (Spain), five of the boats were packed up to be shipped directly to Hong Kong. Mark Turner, CEO of OC Group, which includes the Series' organisers OC Events, declared: “The iShares Cup has been running very successfully for three years now in Europe and the Extreme Sailing Series Asia is the next step in the evolution of this exciting sailing format – a format which has become a benchmark in terms of changing the way sailing is seen. Our aim is to build this series each year on the same foundations on which the European iShares Cup has been built – a comprehensive sailing entertainment event that packages the sport to appeal to the public, media and provide experiential VIP client hospitality. For this inaugural series in Asia we won't be focused on the public side directly, instead we will work hard on the VIP and media aspects, as we did in the early iShares Cup years. But, of course, our aspiration is to build this circuit up over the coming years to match the award-winning iShares Cup format including a strong public element.”
Each event will consist of five days of racing, combining the established format of short, easy to understand races, a media day, VIP sailing days and special events. The Extreme Sailing Series Asia Notice of Race has been issued today and the announcement of the first of the competing teams will follow imminently. Five boats have already committed to the Asian circuit, as in the first year of the iShares Cup series in Europe.
The first event in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia will take place over the 20th-24th November in Hong Kong, supported by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, to coincide with their annual ‘Around the Island Race' on the 22nd November. With over 200 entries the Around the Island Race is Hong Kong's largest and most inclusive sailing event. The RHKYC is well equipped to support the series given its long time presence in Hong Kong waters as the premier sailing club.
The circuit will then move on to Singapore from 11th-15th December where sailing has become synonymous with sporting excellence in the region, after multiple medal success at the Asian Games and the ISAF Youth World Championships. One of the country's key objectives is to make Singapore a key hub for sailing competitions.
Muscat, Oman will host the third event over the 1st to 5th February just before the America's Cup in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, subject to the current legal dispute. The Sultanate of Oman, home to the legend of Sindbad, is known throughout the Gulf for its spectacular beauty and hospitality. The two Oman Sail boats that finished in 1st and 3rd place in the European 2009 iShares Cup, will return to the Extreme Sailing Series Asia this time with two Omani recruits from the Oman Sail Academy on board as part of the crew.
The inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia will see the same high calibre of competitors currently competing in the European circuit with Olympians, World Champions and Record Holders battling it out for victory in this new territory.
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