With growing acknowledgement that high performance classes are the best way to showcase the sport of sailing, the Extreme Sailing Series™ and the International 49er Class Association have today announced a strategic partnership to help broaden the media appeal of sailing.
Starting in 2011, the Extreme Sailing Series™ will see the 49er racing alongside the Extreme 40, as part of the ‘Stadium’ showcase entertainment that the award-winning professional sailing circuit is renowned for.
OC ThirdPole’s Sailing Events Director, Gilles Chiorri, commented, ”The Extreme Sailing Series™ combines top professional racing with challenging and innovative short-course race formats that are also entertaining for a growing fanbase around the world – at the events and online. The 49er is the current Olympic class that offers the most attractive way for us to add another small boat ‘act’ in support of the Extreme 40 racing - as part of a strategy of providing up to 8 hours of entertainment for the public and VIPs who visit our events around the world. The 49er is also a class that has been a stepping stone for 2009 and 2010 Extreme Sailing Series winning helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James. The collaboration with the 49er Class is an exciting addition for us as we scale up the event for 2011 and beyond.”
The 49er Class is still relatively young, but over the last 10 years many of its top sailors have gone on to achieve successful professional sailing careers: 49er Class sailors made up half of the eight helmsmen in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Class aims to provide not only Olympic level sailing for its competitors, but also look to help them break into the highest levels of professional sailing, something that this new partnership is designed to assist.
Malav Shroff, President of the 49er Class commented, “This is a very exciting partnership for us. Kids today want to sail fast boats and from the Optimist Class, kids are straight away jumping into the 29er class, the junior class of the 49er and an ISAF Youth World Class. At an early age they are exposed to high performance sailing and have no fear of the high speeds and performance of these classes. By 18 or 19 years of age they are already moving into the 49er. These high performance classes give them a unique exposure at an early age which they can adopt to various other sailing disciplines.
“We hope that with this partnership, our Olympic Sailors and hopefully our youth sailors from the 29er Class have a congruent pathway to professional sailing. This opportunity will be a big boost for our sailors to gain additional exposure by taking part in these professional events as well as providing them with additional opportunities for securing, and giving a return to, sponsors,” he concluded.