USA-flagged Vega Racing joins Extreme Sailing Series™ as it heads to Madeira Islands

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Just one week remains until the seven international teams, including American-flagged wildcard entry Vega Racing, will compete at Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Madeira Islands. The fleet of hydro-foiling GC32s will make their debut on the waters of the Portuguese archipelago from 22-25 September.

Fronted by Team Principal and skipper Brad Funk, Vega Racing enters the fray as the Series heads to the first of two Portuguese Acts. An accomplished Moth sailor and member of the US Sailing Team since he was 17, Funk has represented his country in both the Laser and 49er class. His versatile background will stand him in good-stead when he lines up against some of the world’s best sailors in one week.

“Having an opportunity to race in the Extreme Sailing Series™ is a dream come true,” the skipper said. “Our goal for Vega Racing is to put together a program to compete in the 2017 season with an all-American team. We are using our wildcard entry in Act 6, Madeira Islands, as part of our long-term strategy to gain experience and show our fans what I believe is one of the most exciting sailing series in the world. It is a bonus that this is a new venue for everyone.”

Funk continued: “For the Madeira Islands Act, we have picked up a couple of talented sailors from the UK and Portugal to fill out our team. They bring a lot of experience to the table, and I’m really looking forward to sailing with them and getting to know the boat.”

Fresh from the Rio Olympic Games, British Laser sailor and double World Champion Nick Thompson joins Funk as tactician, boosting the team’s high-performance credentials. On mainsail trim is fellow Rio Olympian José (Zé) Costa, a 49er sailor and Portuguese national.

British sailor Tom Buggy, a regular on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, adds valuable Stadium Racing experience to the team as headsail trimmer. Rounding off the roster is Youth World’s silver medallist Mac Agnese, a 22 year old from the US, who will put his SL16 catamaran experience to good use as he makes his debut on the GC32 as bowman.

Meanwhile the local team, Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira, have high hopes of success, spurred on by the home crowd. “To have the support of the people will give the team a real boost. We hope to give the crowds in Funchal great happiness when we finish on the podium, that’s our wish,” said skipper Diogo Cayolla, who has represented Portugal in three Olympic Games in three different classes.

Also looking forward to some healthy competition with his fellow Portuguese sailors on home-waters is SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s bowman, Renato Conde. “We will have a great battle with the guys on Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira. Off the water we’re all great friends and I have sailed with them for many years. My brother is on their shore team so that makes us even more competitive.”

Conde continued: “Madeira is a small but beautiful island. At this point in the year the weather will be great – the winds should be quite light but the conditions will be fantastic. We’re looking forward to bringing foiling to Madeira.”

Morgan Larson’s Oman Air are five points clear at the top of the Series leaderboard, but Swiss team Alinghi closed the gap with a win in Act 5.

In what could resemble a ‘tortoise and the hare’-like race, despite not yet securing an Act win, Red Bull Sailing Team’s consistency sees them only one point off second placed Alinghi.

Meanwhile a stand-alone battle has developed within the second half of the fleet with SAP Extreme Sailing Team in fourth only four points clear of Land Rover BAR Academy, and Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira six points shy of the Brits.

With up to eight races planned each day, and a mix of open water racing and the Series’ signature Stadium Racing, the action begins on Thursday 22 September just off the shore of Marina Funchal. The free to enter public Race Village is open daily from 22 – 25 September. Find out more about the event and how you can follow the racing here.

 

The Line-Up – Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6, Madeira Islands, Portugal

Alinghi (SUI)

Skipper/Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)

Tactician: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)

Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)

Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)

Floater: Timothé Lapauw (FRA)

Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR)

Skipper/Bowman: Neil Hunter (GBR)

Helm: Elliot Hanson (GBR)/Chris Taylor (GBR)

Mainsail Trimmer: Will Alloway (GBR)

Headsail Trimmer: Sam Batten (GBR)/Oli Greber (GBR)

Floater: Rob Bunce (GBR)

Oman Air (OMA)

Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)

Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)

Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (NZL/AUS)

Bowmen: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA) & James Wierzbowski (AUS)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)

Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)

Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)

Mainsail Trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL)

Headsail Trimmer: Adam Piggott (GBR)

Bowman: Brad Farrand (NZL)

Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR)

Skipper/Helm: Diogo Cayolla (POR)

Mainsail Trimmer: Frederico Melo (POR)

Headsail Trimmer: Nuno Barreto (POR)

Bowman: Luís Brito (POR)

Floater: João Matos Rosa (POR)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)

Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)

Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)

Mainsail Trimmer: Mads Emil Stephensen (DEN)

Headsail Trimmer: Pierluigi De Felice (ITA)

Bowman: Renato Conde (POR)

Vega Racing (USA)

Skipper/Helm: Brad Funk (USA)

Tactician: Nick Thompson (GBR)

Mainsail Trimmer: José (Zé) Costa (POR)

Headsail Trimmer: Tom Buggy (GBR)

Bowman: Mac Agnese (USA)

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2016 overall results Position / Team / Points

1 Oman Air (OMA) 58 points

2 Alinghi (SUI) 53 points

3 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 52 points

4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 43 points

5 Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 39 points

6 Sail Portugal-Visit Madeira (POR) 33 points

7 CHINA One (CHN) 29 points

8 Team Turx (TUR) 11 points