OC Events promises next years series will be bigger, better and now global

Extreme Sailing Series is set to expand as OC Events, creator of the circuit now in its fourth season, confirm a worldwide 2011 series. The expansion is part of a new five-year vision for the professional sailing series that has changed the way sailing is seen.

OC has also concluded this week the acquisition of the Extreme 40 Class, including the design and build rights from TornadoSport. (TornadoSport, headed up by CEO Herbert Dercksen, created the game-changing concept in 2005 along with Mitch Booth and Daniel Koene when they launched the Extreme 40 catamaran that was designed by Yves Loday and built today by Marstrom Composites in Sweden.)

The acquisition will include management of the Class, technical support for the teams, and boat sales. As previously announced, the Extreme Sailing Series is committed to the Extreme 40 as the main act until at least January 2013, and will seek the input of current teams with regards to possible evolutions of the boat and rules for the 2011 season.

Over the past 12 months, the events have included conventional long course ‘windward/leeward’ fleet racing, coastal courses, the short course 15-minute close-combat ‘stadium’ races, one against one speed duels, and now since February this year, as a regular feature, match racing.

The circuit has been focused on commercially run teams since its inception, and will continue to develop the return on investment for the team sponsors – by both controlling costs (budgets remain in the tens of thousands per market), and visiting more markets to extend the global reach of the event.

Next year’s Series will see an eight event global circuit across Europe, the USA, the Far East and the GCC region. After being approached by more than 60 host venues from around the world in the past six months, there is a current shortlist of 18 for the 2011 circuit, with 2012 discussions also well progressed. The 2010 host venues of Trapani (Italy) and Andalucia (Spain) are already confirmed as part of their multi-year contracts, and OC Events will announce the other venues during October and November.

A ‘typical’ 2011 event will consist of five days of racing, as opposed to three last year. The first two days being ‘open water’ courses, where the venue permits, before the action heats up in the close-quarters ‘stadium’ racing over the final three days.

“We are looking to expand and improve the Extreme Sailing Series on all fronts,” said Mark Turner, Chairman of the newly merged OC ThirdPole outdoor events group that owns circuit organiser, OC Events. “With multi-format competition at top class venues of different types – city centres, ocean facing, rivers and lakes, top class race management and on-water umpiring, development of the outstanding B2B VIP experience that has been at the heart of the event since the beginning, and a bigger than ever entertainment package for spectators on the water and on shore including our Sailing Rocks gigs, the Extreme Sailing Series will be going up a level.”

“We have plans in place to expand the TV production and distribution, growing both the news service and the successful worldwide TV series, as well as the online content. We plan to expand the presence of other classes as warm-up acts, to both race and show-off, like the Moth dinghies and windsurfers this year.”

With strong demand, and a 12-boat limit in place for 2011, a Preliminary Notice of Race is published with a pre-entry procedure. Whilst there is an encouraging amount of new team potential, existing teams that have helped grow the circuit will be given priority should the limit be reached. Other evolutions in the rules are expected to ensure that the team budgets remain under tight control, in the value-for-money commercially funded circuit.

The Notice of Race will be published in full by 31 October following the final 2010 event in Almeria, Spain, at which point the full entry procedure will open.

For more, visit www.extremesailingseries.com