iShares Cup 2009 – 5 Events, Maybe 6…

OC Events are gearing up for the publication of the events calendar for the 2009 Ishares Cup. The core series will be down to 5 events across Europe, with the possibility of extras at short notice. OC Events plans to release the Notice of Race (NOR) for 2010 by the end of January to allow teams more stability and make it easier to show sponsors a long term commitment.

Twenty-two pro teams have registered their desire to enter with the iShares Cup organisers, OC Events:

“The enthusiasm for the iShares Cup is just growing and growing across Europe and around the world,” said Gilles Chiorri, OC Events Director. “The sailors love it because the racing is high-level and intense, the public love it because they can get really close to the action and for sponsors it offers a sensible value-for-money budget. It’s perfect for the current ‘difficult’ economic environment with a high return in both B2B and B2C terms, with the costs spread across multiple markets.”

There will be at least two new French teams – Groupama skipper Franck Cammas has already announced his team’s participation and skipper Erik Maris, who competed at the iShares Cup Hy√®res event in 2008 racing TWINS, is planning to step-up to a full season of racing in 2009 under a new boat name ‘Luna’. Plus two other potential French teams are lining up – one headed up by Yvan Bourgnon and another from a leading existing French sailing campaign.

2008 teams set to return are iShares (International), BT (International), Holmatro (NED) and the Oman Sail Team are expected to enter not one but two Extreme 40s for 2009. BMW ORACLE RACING is also considering entry in a full iShares Cup season following their participation at the Cowes event last year.

OC Events plan to issue the Notice of Race for 2009 and 2010 by the end of January so the teams can then officially enter the circuit – with entry numbers limited.

“We will be staging five events, and possibly a sixth, across Europe for the 2009 iShares Cup,” said Chiorri. “Returning to the key territories of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and The Netherlands. We also expect some of the teams who have the flexibility and budget to participate in other Extreme 40 exhibition and invitational events in other countries, such as, Switzerland where we plan to return in the iShares Cup 2010.”

The ideal iShares Cup venue is one that can offer easy accessibility for VIPs and international media, in other words a major European city with shore-side spectator capabilities where the boats can race very, very close to shore coupled with good facilities for the teams.

“Over the last two years we have been able to show that the iShares Cup can attract big crowds plus VIP and media attendance, and leave a significant positive economic impact on the host venue. If you add in the OC Events organisation and the teams, the iShares Cup effectively brings 600 people on location, before you add in the thousands of spectators, and that starts to generate serious income. We’ve had excellent interest from many new cities and regions and after an intensive bidding process. All but one of the venues have now been decided, the first of which we will announce next week along with the 2009 iShares Cup calendar,” concluded Chiorri.