Racing

AC35 Hopefuls Duke it Out in the Extreme Sailing Series

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There are still plenty of thrills and spills to be had at the Extreme Sailing Series

Time on the Water

While the powers that be are proving frustratingly slow at deciding on a regatta format or final boat design for the 35th America’s Cup, the sailors themselves have been plenty busy fanning out across the globe in search of additional multihull racing experience.

Central to these efforts has been the Extreme Sailing Series, now in its eighth season, which features the Extreme 40 carbon-fiber catamarans that led the way in terms of design for the AC45s that competed in the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series.

The Extreme Sailing Series has become a serious training ground for future America’s Cup hopefuls

Chief among the AC35 hopefuls taking part is J.P. Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie, who served as tactician aboard Oracle Racing in 2013 and is currently soliciting financial support for a UK-flagged challenger.

Other AC35 contenders include 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas—one of the principals in Team France, which aims to replicate New Zealand’s long history of Cup success—and pretty much the entire Emirates Team New Zealand crew, which includes Dean Barker as one of two co-skippers.

Olympic gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe calls the shifts aboard Alinghi

Then there’s former America’s Cup defender Team Alinghi, which includes U.S. gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe as tactician. Tunnicliffe officially retired from Olympic competition this past winter, and you can’t help but wonder if this jump from Lasers and Elliott 6m matching racing to arena-style catamaran competition isn’t part of some kind of a long-term plan.

For more on the Extreme Sailing Series, including details on the next stop of its eight-regatta tour in Cardiff, England, visit extremesailingseries.com.

Photo Courtesy of EXTREME SAILING SERIES

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