Extreme Sailing Series Europe Returns to Cowes Week in 2010. 1

The Extreme Sailing Series for Extreme 40s (previously known as the iShares Cup) has finally announced it’s UK venue for 2010. The circuit will return to Cowes on the Isle of Wight during Cowes Week, adding some excitement for spectators ashore.

There had been some talk that OC Events, the organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series, would not return to the historical home of UK yacht racing. Despite being based in Cowes, the OC Group has made public comments about the lack of support received versus the value the series delivered to the local economy.

In practise, there are not a lot of other options for a UK sailing event. Even if the series were to find a suitable venue, the ‘Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week’ is becoming an annual fixture and one way to build on the success of previous events is to keep the date and place consistent year to year.

In 2009,  the Extreme 40 racing gave spectators a reason to visit Cowes Week which is otherwise a competitor-centric event. The format of the regatta makes for spectacular starts and finishes with hours of nothing in between. The Extreme 40s provided much needed entertainment in the middle. Despite this, some of the racing in 2010 will be held later in the day, from 5pm on some days. This is to give the real customers of Cowes Week, the sailors taking part,  a chance to watch the racing.

Later racing also encourages visitors to stay the night, increasing the potential economic effect of the series. Hopefully the schedule will allow for day visitors to travel from London and other places to watch the Extreme 40s.

Gilles Chiorri, Event Director for OC Events, commented:

“The Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week was a huge success in 2009 with not only the general public lining the seafront to watch the sailing, but sailors racing in other classes heading down to Egypt Point as soon as they finished their own racing to watch the Extreme 40 spectacle. We hope to continue that trend in 2010 with much of the racing starting after the main Cowes Week fleets have finished – there will be plenty to see and do at Egypt Point and we look forward to welcoming everyone there.”

Stuart Quarrie, CEO of Cowes Week Limited, is more than ever reliant on entry fees of competitors to fund the regatta. In the absence of a title sponsor, the most important customers are the sailors taking part. While additional spectators are a benefit to the small businesses and economy of Cowes, Cowes Week does not gain financially from their presence. So to keep those paying the bill happy, the format has changed. Quarrie says:

“We’re delighted to welcome the Extreme 40s back to Cowes Week in 2010. Last year the racing added hugely to the great spectacle of our regatta and, having taken onboard the feedback received, we’re delighted that some of the racing will be held later in the day enabling more Cowes Week sailors to enjoy the spectacle too.”

Four of the five venues have now been confirmed for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series European circuit but the final venue announcement will not happen until the 21st April – just a month before the first race. The German round might be Kiel, but it won’t be during the popular Kiel Week as it has been in previous years. Kiel Woche runs from 19th – 27th of June in 2010.

The calendar for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series Europe is confirmed as:

  • Sète, France 27 – 30 May
  • Cowes, United Kingdom 31 July – 5 August
  • Germany 26 – 29 August
  • Trapani, Italy 23 – 26 September
  • Almería, Spain 9 – 12 October