The 2018 Extreme Sailing Series is ready to fly for the 12th consecutive year, with the announcement today by Series organisers OC Sport of a global tour that will visit eight major cities on three continents. The Middle East, Europe and the Americas are all on the line up for what promises to be another year of foiling action, as the Series continues to provide a guaranteed annual proposition to teams and partners on a global scale. Watch the official video to find out where the Series is going here.
Fans wont have to wait long to get their first Extreme Sailing Series fix, with Act 1 taking place in just over four weeks' time in Muscat, Oman from the 14-17 March. David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, welcomed the opportunity to host the season opener. “We are delighted to welcome the opening Act of the Extreme Sailing Series to Oman for the eighth year. This world-class stadium event attracts the global media spotlight and brings hundreds of inbound travellers to our shores to enjoy the high octane and very accessible racing action. The event allows us to showcase the country to the world and fits perfectly with our mission to promote the Sultanate as a high end and adventure tourism destination.”
The second point-scoring stage of the 2018 Series will see the Extreme Sailing Series and GC32 Racing Tour fleets combine at the World Championship event in Lake Garda, Italy, 24-27 May. This will be the GC32s' first ever World Championship since becoming a World Sailing-recognised class last year.
With little time to rest, the fleet then continue to Barcelona, Spain for the second time from the 14-17 June. Based out of a new location at the state of the art Marina Vela, local organisers FNOB are hoping to build on the success of 2017 to engage more people locally. Xosé-Carlos Fernández, FNOB CEO, explained: “The Extreme Sailing Series is no doubt one of the most important circuits in international sailing. It is a perfect complement to the Barcelona World Race, our two-crew round-the-world race. Thanks to the Extreme Sailing Series, we keep the people of Barcelona connected to the emotion of sailing in a direct and accessible way.”
From Barcelona, the fleet head to Portugal from the 5-8 July, at a venue to be announced in the coming months, before St Petersburg, Russia, makes a comeback on the calendar from the 9-12 August. Arguably one of the most iconic city-centre stadiums set against the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Winter Palace, and a key market for many of the partners, the city previously hosted the Series in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Cardiff will welcome the fleet again as part of the Cardiff Harbour Festival over the UK August Bank Holiday weekend, 24-27 August. Always a firm favourite with the public and the sailors due to the accessible waterfront stadium and close racing, this year is expected to be even more spectacular as Wales celebrates its 'Year of the Sea'.
Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas elaborated: “2018 will be the seventh time for Cardiff Bay to experience the excitement of the Extreme Sailing Series. We're celebrating the Year of the Sea in Wales this year, which is a fantastic opportunity for Wales to make its mark as the UK's top 21st century coastal destination – with world class products, events and experiences – with this event playing an important part in the line up of events.
“Extreme Sailing Series provides Cardiff with a global position alongside other premium worldwide venues and gives us the opportunity to promote Cardiff Bay internationally as a world class sailing and water sports venue.”
The fleet then leaves Europe behind and heads west to the USA, where San Diego will host the penultimate Act from the 18-21 October. The event became an instant hit with spectators and sailors alike in 2017, producing phenomenal racing, on a tactical racecourse that provided the public with front row seats.
Joe Terzi, President and CEO of San Diego Tourism Authority, commented: “The San Diego Tourism Authority is incredibly excited to have the Extreme Sailing Series return to San Diego. This unique event offers visitors a chance to glimpse an exciting race that few cities around the world are lucky to host, and our local economy benefits by giving visitors a reason to return to San Diego.”
The grand finale will take place in Los Cabos, Mexico, following a hugely successful debut last year for both the sailors – where the Zhik speed machine record for the year, with insights from SAP, was hit at 33.7 knots – and the Series commercial partners. Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director Fiturca, commented: “2017 was a great success and among the most successful events that took place during the year in Los Cabos. We are honored to have the Series back in 2018 for the season finale, showcasing Los Cabos around the world as one of the leading tourism destinations.”
Andy Tourell, the Extreme Sailing Series Event Director, who has led the development of this pioneering sporting property for the last six years commented: “The Series will continue to deliver a busy menu of racing unrivalled by other events, which can see up to 32 races at every Act. This means more racing for the sailors and a better entertainment schedule for public spectators, VIP guests and media.
“We will also continue to build on the trend of the past four years that has seen the average size of racecourses grow, while maintaining the proximity of the foiling action to the shore.”
The world class standard of racing and unique corporate sponsorship platform offered by the Series, which is one of only seven World Sailing Special Events, will see both returning and new crews made up of some of the world's best sailors.
2018 Calendar of Acts:
14 – 17 March – Act 1, Muscat, Oman
24 – 27 May – GC32 World Championship, Lake Garda, Italy
14 – 17 June – Act 2, Barcelona, Spain
5 – 8 July – Act 3, Portugal
9 – 12 August – Act 4, St Petersburg, Russia
24 – 27 August – Act 5, Cardiff, UK
18 – 21 October – Act 6, San Diego, USA
29 November – 2 December – Act 7, Los Cabos, Mexico