Cardiff Replaces Cowes as Destination for UK Round of Extreme Sailing Series

January 18, 2012

Cardiff will stage the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series, now in its sixth year, between the 24-27 August, 2012 after securing a three-year deal.

The Cardiff stage of the global sailing circuit is only one of four events with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012.

The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.

Since the circuit’s inception in 2007, the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series has been staged during Cowes Week with the support of the Isle of Wight Council and Cowes Week Ltd, entertaining thousands of spectators along The Esplanade shoreline.

“We’ve had some great events in Cowes over the last five years and we’ve made significant investment as organisers to be there, but we just couldn’t afford to continue to subsidise it as a venue in 2012,” said Mark Turner, Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, OC ThirdPole.”

He went on to say, “Whilst Cowes Week Ltd have accommodated us as best as they could both operationally and politically, we’ve never actually received a formal bid to host the event in Cowes.

“The circuit went global last year and requires significant commercial backing to stage 8 events across 3 continents, and we have worked hard to develop the circuit to attract iconic cities and venues from around the world who value the return on investment.

“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event has steadily increased, and this is reflected in the 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”

“Unfortunately, Cowes hasn’t been able to make a bid to keep the circuit here and it’s also disappointing for OC ThirdPole considering it’s home to one of our three international company bases. However, we remain very committed to the area and will continue to bring significant economic value to the Island as a business and through our other operations with our clients, such as, Artemis Investment Management and their extensive activity during Cowes Week itself.

“By 2011 our surveys indicated that there were many people traveling to Cowes specifically to watch the Extreme Sailing Series and we appreciated their support – we look forward to welcoming some of those existing fans to Cardiff along with a new audience the venue will bring us.”

A spokesperson for Cowes Week Ltd gave an explanation why the Cowes couldn’t stage the event.

“Cowes Week Limited and the Isle of Wight Council have worked very hard over the years to accommodate the Series within Cowes Week and the Series has always received a considerable amount of support,” the spokesperson said.

“From a commercial perspective, the normal commercial model that is in place for the Series has differed for Cowes Week. In most other situations around the world, the local authority provides funding for the Series in recognition of the visitors that these standalone events bring to a region.

“Given that Cowes Week has always attracted a significant number of visitors and that the event ensures it is one of the busiest weeks of the year for the Island anyway, the dynamics of holding the Extreme Sailing Series as an associated part of Cowes Week were always going to be different.”

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