WHITLEY, 25 AUGUST 2014: Series Main Partner to the Extreme Sailing Series, Land Rover, has awarded the third ‘Above and Beyond’ Award in Cardiff, United Kingdom to Sir Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR team and Oman Sail’s shore crew after the two teams demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship on the second day of Act 5 of the global Stadium Racing circuit.
The 'Above and Beyond' Award recognises the team, individual or the extended sailing family involved in the Extreme Sailing Series™, who has demonstrated outstanding determination, skill, teamwork and composure reflecting inspirational behaviour in the world of sailing.
On Day 2 of racing in the heart of the capital city of Wales, Cardiff, the Stadium Racecourse was just 300 metres wide and 700 metres long for the 11 top professional teams racing on their carbon fibre Extreme 40 catamarans.
In the fifth race of the day, SAP Extreme Sailing team careered into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand, led by America’s Cup skipper, Dean Barker. Race Director and Above and Beyond Award Committee Member, Phil Lawrence takes up the story: “There was a very large gust just as the teams were approaching the gate mark and the fleet was very close together. SAP Extreme Sailing Team was unable to avoid a collision, slamming into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand, chopping off their rudder. The Kiwi boat was unable to steer and heading towards the rocks in Cardiff Bay when Jo Lees and the Oman Sail RIB [chase boat] spotted the situation and immediately went alongside in his RIB to steer ETNZ away from the rocks. Sadly, ETNZ were unable to continue racing as their rudder was completely destroyed.
“On learning this, the shore crew onboard the J.P. Morgan BAR RIB immediately went ashore to get their spare rudder, assembled it and helped to fit it onboard the Emirates Team New Zealand Extreme 40 with a speed that meant the Kiwi team missed just two races and were able to get back on the racecourse.
“This sort of sportsmanship is unique to the sport of sailing and deserves to be recognised with the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award,” he concluded.
The leaders of the shore crews, Jo Lees (Oman Sail) and Jono Macbeth (J.P. Morgan BAR) were nominated to the Above & Beyond Committee by the Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper, Dean Barker: “I nominated them because it is the sportsmanship they showed when things were going pear-shaped to help a rival team.
“At one stage it looked like we were going to end up on the beach and Jo from Oman Sail got into position really quickly and helped us tack the boat away from the imminent issues and then Jono and the other guys from the J.P. Morgan BAR team went and got us a rudder and stock which allowed us to change it pretty quickly on the water. It is the sportsmanship that was shown to help another competitor when they don’t need to go out of their way to do that, that deserves to be recognised,” Barker concluded.
Sir Ben Ainslie, skipper of J.P. Morgan BAR commented, “It is great that the shore crew get recognised with Land Rover’s Above and Beyond Award. These are the guys working behind the scenes to make everything happen and they all work hard as a group of individual teams but muscle together to keep the Series and teams on the road and they deserve to be credited. Our guys are a great addition to the team. Sailing is a great sport in general with great camaraderie, but in particular in this Series, because of the short course, stadium racing that we do, it is much more prevalent that the teams help each other out.”
The Land Rover Above and Beyond Award Committee is chaired by Land Rover Global Ambassador, Hannah White, Extreme Sailing Series Race Director, Phil Lawrence, Event Director Andy Tourell and former winner of the Extreme Sailing Series and America's Cup sailor, Dave 'Freddie' Carr.
The Above and Beyond Award winners to date are:
Qingdao, China: The Oman Sail shore crew for their dedication and expertise in boat-building and boat-preparation following a major crash in the first race of the first day.
Saint Petersburg, Russia: Double Olympic Gold Medallist, Sarah Ayton, from The Wave, Muscat for inspiring the next generation of aspiring sailors.
Cardiff, United Kingdom: Jo Lees on behalf of the Oman Sail Shore team and to Jono Macbeth on behalf of the J.P. Morgan BAR Shore team for the effort, support and camaraderie shown to rivals Emirates Team New Zealand.