Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher are confident they can improve on their three overall podiums when the new 2017 Extreme Sailing Series gets underway on March 8-11 in Muscat, Oman.
The two-time Olympic gold medallists and former world champions will join up with Briton Adam Piggott plus New Zealand pair Stewart Dodson and Will Tiller for the eight races that make up this season’s calendar.
Hagara and Steinacher relished the opportunity to sail new GC32 foiling catamarans last season, seven out of eight regatta podiums seeing the team finish third.
They will need to be on top of their game this time around with the cream of world sailing’s talent lining up against them across three different continents.
The stadium racing format will bring the action right to the public, the super-light GC32s capable of reaching speeds of almost 40 knots (74 kph, 46 mph) as they lift gracefully off the water.
Skipper Hagara revealed, “The 2017 season is going to be more competitive than ever before. And to be successful, we will have to beat the two-time America’s Cup champion Alinghi.”
The defending Swiss champions and 2016 runners-up Oman Air will again be their main rivals, however Dodson, Piggott and Tiller are all set for the challenge too.
Hagara added, “With Will we have a new and very strong team member. This change will definitely play into our hands and should support the overall performance of the team.”
Trimmer Dodson and bowman Piggott both contributed to Red Bull Sailing’s medal effort in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, while mainsheet Tiller is already a world champion.
After the Oman opener, the teams will travel to China then over to Europe for four races before they swing over to America and Mexico to fight it out for the title.
Tactician Steinacher enthused, “Our training camp prior to the start of the season payed off. Our technical team did a great job, which means that hulls, mast and sails are in perfect condition and the fine-tuning is done. I believe the experience that Roman and I bring to the table combined with our young guns can be the winning formula for 2017. We’re looking forward to a year full of great sailing in exciting locations.”
Thanks to Red Bull Content Pool.