For those of you who haven’t noticed yet – the sport of sailing is moving east. Little by little, the opportunities presented in new markets are starting to impact on venue selection, sponsorship and other key commercial considerations. While European governments struggle with basic economic problems that make going sailing trivial, governments in the Middle East and Asia are investing in the sport. While many laughed off Ras al Khaimah (RAK) as an America’s Cup venue, the same region will play host to the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Volvo Ocean Race, RC44 Series and perhaps soon a stop on the World Match Racing Tour. Remember – Etihad, the Abu Dhabi based airline did not exist until 2003.
But it’s not all one way. Europe is still an important market, and while local events are established, companies based in places like Dubai are looking to participate in the sport. One of the teams who have taken advantage of the new opportunities is Team Pindar. Having launched Sail Bahrain late last year, the team has today announced that they will enter the Extreme Sailing Series Europe with the backing of Dubai-based global logistics provider GAC.
Team GAC Pindar will race under a British flag and will be skippered by Australian all-round yachtsman and experienced Extreme 40 sailor, Nick Moloney. Nick has competed in the series since it began in 2007 and boasts a rich and successful sailing career, including 2 America’s Cup campaigns and 12 individual World Sailing Speed Records. He will be joined by three other accomplished international sailors – Britons Andy Walsh (helmsman) and Olly Smith (bowman), plus New Zealand yachtsman, Fraser Brown (trimmer).
Director of Team Pindar, Nick Crabtree commented,
“The Extreme Sailing Series combines all that is exciting about sport and offers some fantastic marketing and hospitality opportunities at key territories around Europe. We are delighted to be joining a world class line-up and are looking forward to some exciting and competitive racing.”
This is the first time the team has entered the Extreme Sailing Series. Its partner for the jointly-managed ‘Team GAC Pindar’ entry is the global logistics provider GAC, which delivers a complete range of international supply chain and logistics solutions, including air and sea freight, warehousing and distribution, road transportation, project logistics, ship spares logistics, international moving and courier services.
Captain Peter Gronberg, Managing Director of GAC (Bahrain) said:
“We have been working closely with Team Pindar over the last year on its Sail Bahrain project and it has become clear that there are a number of synergies and business opportunities for a sailing team and a shipping and logistics service provider to work together. We are thrilled to be partnering the team in the Extreme Sailing Series, as we look to extend our niche maritime services into the European market.”
Team Pindar has named international environmental organisation Earthwatch as its nominated charity, to help raise awareness of its oceans research programme, which comprises projects around the world, studying coastal ecosystems and threatened marine species.
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