The final Act, presented by SAP, will see eight teams from eight nations – including a Mexican-flagged wildcard – go head-to-head from 30 November – 3 December. But, with the overall season victory at stake and the Act worth double points, the pressure is on more than ever for the crews.
Front-runner SAP Extreme Sailing Team has had an outstanding season so far and has shown no signs of slowing down, but victory for the Danish squad is not guaranteed at this critical stage.
“This is my first season on the Extreme Sailing Series and to have been able to join such a fantastic team and to be leading the Series is great,” said Kiwi helm Adam Minoprio.
“We’ve been up against some very tough teams and to have a few points up our sleeve going into the last event is great, but we have a long way to go to win. We need to do everything perfectly in Los Cabos. One slip-up or one gear failure could mean the one point that costs us the Series.
“It will be hard work for the teams to stay concentrated with all the fun to be had in Los Cabos with the sports fishing, surfing and beach culture,” added Minoprio on the venue for Act 8, a new host location for the Series.
Phil Robertson’s Team Oman Air are not out of the fight yet. If the Omani team, that narrowly missed out on victory in 2016, is able to put two boats between itself and the current leader in the rankings for Los Cabos it will claim the 2017 title.
“The season has been a very competitive one. We’ve been fairly consistent and are looking to finish it off strong,” said skipper Robertson.
“It’s not going to be easy for us to win as SAP Extreme Sailing Team have a nice buffer but they have it all to lose. The pressure is off us and we will be going out there with free spirits looking for the win,” he added.
Robertson seconded Minoprio’s enthusiasm about the new Stadium Racing venue, located at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula: “At Team Oman Air, we’re excited to visit Los Cabos, mainly for the Mexican food and the surf. It has been super nice for the Series to visit new cities this year. San Diego turned it on for the last Act; maybe Mexico can one-up it.”
2016 champion Alinghi goes into Act 8 in third, just one point behind Team Oman Air, meaning they too are in with a shot at the title, while Red Bull Sailing Team, currently in fourth, will be looking to secure a spot on the overall podium. The Austrian team, skippered by double Olympic gold-medalist Roman Hagara, has had three podium finishes so far this season.
Having been joined by Ben Ainslie for San Diego, Land Rover BAR Academy has enlisted the help of Giles Scott, a fellow Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup sailor, for the final stage. The British syndicate is in sixth place, two-points behind NZ Extreme Sailing Team helmed by America’s Cup winner Josh Junior.
The regular six crews will be joined by two wildcards Lupe Tortilla Demetrio, the US team who also competed in San Diego, and Team Extreme México. The Mexican entry will have three of the country’s top sailors on board, including skipper Erik Brockmann. The trio will be the first Mexicans ever to compete in the Series.
Los Cabos, which is famed for its beautiful beaches and perfect year-round weather, looks set to deliver a spectacular final event as the Extreme Sailing Series makes its debut. Fans visiting the area can expect an endless variety of sporting and cultural events and entertainment options for everyone, including golf, fishing, and surfing tournaments, as well as food festivals and art festivals showcasing music and film. Find out more about the venue on the Visit Los Cabos website.
Rodrigo Esponda, General Director of Tourism of Los Cabos Trust, commented: “Los Cabos has demonstrated once again that it is a destination capable of hosting events of the high level of the Extreme Sailing Series, thanks to its infrastructure and services. I invite all the participating teams and media to live and share everything that Los Cabos can offer.”
Héctor Flores, CEO for the Mexico Tourism Board, said: “We are excited to welcome fans and participants of the Extreme Sailing Series to Mexico to experience the richness and many wonders of Los Cabos. Its mega-biodiversity, gastronomy, adventure and luxury and high-impact events are only a slice of what makes Mexico a world of its own and what makes visitors return each year.”
Spectators can enjoy activities and front row seats in the free-to-enter public Race Village, located on Médano Beach, or upgrade to experience the event from the comfort of the VIP Extreme Club. Find out more about the public event site and the VIP packages available on the official website.
The fleet will race from 14:00 – 17:00 local time (UTC-7) from Thursday 30 November – Sunday 3 December. Fans can follow the action online on the live blog on Thursday and Friday and can watch the live stream on the official YouTube and Facebook channels on Saturday and Sunday. Racing will be broadcast live on TV channels across the globe from 15:30 – 17:00 on Sunday 3 December.
2017 Extreme Sailing Series™ overall standings
- SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 78 pts
- Oman Air (OMA) 73 points
- Alinghi (SUI) 72 pts
- Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 66 pts
- NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) 56 pts
- Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 54 pts