Six GC32 catamarans pre-start, before the foiling kicks off on the waters of Cardiff Harbour in 2017
Welsh wildcard team breathes new fire into Extreme Sailing Series™
Taking on the Series regulars on Cardiff's famously tricky and tactical course, Extreme Sailing Series™ wildcard Team Wales will be looking to prove themselves as hot competition on home waters, as they race in the headline Act of the Cardiff Harbour Festival, from 24-27 August.
Crewed by a mixture of Welsh and English sailing talent, Team Wales boasts an array of racing accolades, from Olympic campaigns to European and World Championships, with many of the team also having competed on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit in recent years.
Catamaran specialist and Extreme Sailing Series pro Adam Piggott takes up post as skipper, with his sailing skills bolstered by his impressive crew. Headsail trimmer Alain Sign joins the squad from the British Sailing Team, having been part of Team GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 49er class. Mainsail trimmer Martin Evans, from Swansea, comes from a single-handed background in the Laser class, with teammate Gareth Fowler, from Chepstow, having campaigned a number of performance keelboats and has previously raced on the Land Rover Extreme 40. On the bow is Peter McCoy, a Finn sailor and a physical powerhouse, providing the horsepower at the front of the GC32 speed machine.
The team is completed by Camilo Orobio - a rising star from the Greig City Academy in London, and part of the team that won the British Young Sailor of the Year award earlier this year. Orobio will be boarding the Welsh hydro-foiling GC32 catamaran for a taste of the action on the professional circuit, gaining some experience during warm-up sailing and acting as a reserve for the real thing.
With the Welsh capital providing the perfect Stadium Racing setting, the crew onboard Team Wales is keen to come out on top in front of Cardiff's crowds.
"I can't wait to get back out on Cardiff Bay for another year of the Extreme Sailing Series," enthused Welshman Martin Evans. "My very first sailing experience was with my grandfather in a mirror dinghy in Swansea marina so it's a real treat to come back to South Wales as part of a professional outfit – it will give my grandfather and the Welsh crowds something to cheer for."
His teammate, fellow Welsh sailor Gareth Fowler, agreed:
"To be able to sail against some of the best sailors in the world and in such awesome boats will be incredible," he said. "Add into the mix the close proximity of spectators that line the Cardiff Bay banks, it really makes me excited. I can't wait for what promises to be an incredible weekend of racing in an incredible venue, and on home waters too!"
The determined team sure have fire in their belly.
"We're aiming to be right in the battle with the top teams," said an ambitious Evans. "This event is such a great platform for Welsh sailors to gain recognition on the world stage. We'll be striving to do our country proud."
The Extreme Sailing Series' Cardiff Act will not only host the elite level fleet of GC32 sailors, but also the eight-strong international Flying Phantom fleet for their Series decider. The full list of all competing teams will be announced in the coming days.
The event will offer a free-to-enter Fan Zone with front row seats to the exhilarating on-water action, alongside on-shore activities to keep the whole family entertained.
VIP tickets to the event are available, click here to find out more.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Cardiff
Team Wales Line Up (GBR)
Skipper/Helm – Adam Piggott (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer – Martin Evans (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer – Alain Sign (GBR)
Boards/Float – Gareth Fowler (GBR)
Bowman – Peter McCoy (GBR)
Reserve/ shore crew - Camilo Orobio (GBR)