Extreme Sailing Series™, Cardiff 2014

Land Rover is the Series Main Partner in the Extreme Sailing Series™. The adrenaline-fueled global Stadium Sailing series brings action to the public, putting guests at the heart of the battle.

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Extreme Sailing Series Overview

Land Rover is the Series Main Partner to the Extreme Sailing Series™, endorsed by the International Sailing Federation. It is contested by a fleet of Extreme 40 catamarans that have exceptional speed and agility, sharing many fundamental principles with Land Rover’s philosophy.

Unlike many other sailing events, the races are fought out in the tight confines of iconic venues around the world, allowing spectators to enjoy the speed and excitement close-up. Each Act is contested over four days, and features a series of up to eight short sharp Stadium Races each day, lasting between 10 and 20 minutes.

The Extreme Sailing Series™ Cardiff, returned to the Welsh capital in August 2013 for the UK leg of its global racing series. The only UK event in the competition's eight global "Acts" saw Land Rover, entering its own boat: Team Wales Land Rover. This was an invitational wildcard entry, with a predominantly Welsh crew, rich in young sailing talent.

Extreme Sailing Series, Cardiff 2014

Morgan Larson in The Driving Seat at The Extreme Sailing Series, Cardiff

The Extreme Sailing Series™ Cardiff, presented by Land Rover, saw the fleet launch into the second half of the 2014 Series. The 55 elite level sailors were raring to race, having last faced each other eight weeks earlier in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

After four days of stadium racing, Cardiff Bay saved the best for last for the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet. Swiss team Alinghi, The Wave, Muscat and J.P. Morgan BAR battled it out until the bitter end for the top positions, in one of the closest – and most exciting – three-horse fights seen in the Series, which resulted in a three way collision and three consecutive penalties to boot in the final race.

You couldn’t have scripted a better final, with the three leaders leaning on each other hard as they tried to gain the upper hand. The Wave, Muscat took advantage of the tussle to sail away with the win at Act 5 Cardiff - and importantly homing in on Alinghi on the overall 2014 Series leaderboard.

That left Sir Ben Ainslie and Morgan Larson in a straight shoot out for second, but the British skipper couldn’t break the domination of Switzerland’s Alinghi, with Larson snatching it from the grasps of J.P. Morgan BAR.

In traditional UK Bank Holiday style, the day started with an onslaught of rain, before the clouds lifted, the breeze picked up and the fleet played out the final races in a beautiful 15 knots of breeze, with lots of ducking and weaving, hitting top speeds of 20 knots.

Cardiff has once again delivered an outstanding event, with 90,000 spectators getting front row seats to the action, as part of the Cardiff Harbour Festival. Straight after Cardiff, the fleet of Extreme 40s headed to Istanbul and Nice before the final which will take place in Sydney, Australia. This will see the overall series champion crowned on 14th December 2014.

Land Rover Above and Beyond Award

This season, the competitors pursued an extra reward for their sportsmanship, strength of mind and team spirit with the introduction of the new Land Rover Above and Beyond Award which recognises the team, individual or the extended sailing family involved in the Extreme Sailing Series™, who has demonstrated outstanding determination, skill, teamwork and composure reflecting inspirational behaviour in the world of sailing.

Land Rover awarded the third ‘Above and Beyond’ Award in Cardiff, United Kingdom to Sir Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR team and Oman Sail’s shore crew, after the two teams demonstrated spectacular sportsmanship on the second day of Act 5 of the global Stadium Racing circuit.

On Day 2 of racing in the heart of the capital city of Wales, Cardiff, the Stadium Racecourse was just 300 metres wide and 700 metres long for the 11 top professional teams racing on their carbon fibre Extreme 40 catamarans.

In the fifth race of the day, SAP Extreme Sailing team careered into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand, led by America’s Cup skipper, Dean Barker.

There was a very large gust just as the teams were approaching the gate mark and the fleet was very close together. SAP Extreme Sailing Team was unable to avoid a collision, slamming into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand, chopping off their rudder. The Kiwi boat was unable to steer and heading towards the rocks in Cardiff Bay when Jo Lees and the Oman Sail RIB [chase boat] spotted the situation and immediately went alongside in his RIB to steer ETNZ away from the rocks. Sadly, ETNZ were unable to continue racing as their rudder was completely destroyed.

SAP Extreme Sailing Team was unable to avoid a collision, slamming into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand, chopping off their rudder.

Phil Lawrence, Race Director and Above and Beyond Award Committee Member

On learning this, the shore crew onboard the J.P. Morgan BAR RIB immediately went ashore to get their spare rudder, assembled it and helped to fit it onboard the Emirates Team New Zealand Extreme 40 with a speed that meant the Kiwi team missed just two races and were able to get back on the racecourse.

This sort of sportsmanship is unique to the sport of sailing and deserves to be recognised with the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award.

The Land Rover Above and Beyond Award Committee is chaired by Land Rover Global Ambassador, Hannah White, Extreme Sailing Series™ Race Director, Phil Lawrence, Event Director Andy Tourell and former winner of the Extreme Sailing Series™ and America's Cup sailor, Dave 'Freddie' Carr.

We look forward to welcoming the event back to UK shores this year, with the Extreme Sailing Series, Cardiff which will take place from 18th - 21st June 2015.