Extreme sailing brings Olympians to Cardiff harbour festival
Paul Dancey on 20/08/2012
Excitement is mounting on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay in anticipation of the traditional finale to the Cardiff Festival, but this year the Cardiff Harbour Festival (Aug 31 - Sep 2) has gone to extremes, as it welcomes the Extreme Sailing Series – the UK leg of the world's most exciting inshore racing series to Cardiff Bay which features Welsh Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills competing for Team Wales, and Windsurfing silver winner Nick Dempsey.
The Extreme Sailing Series is high octane international sailing that attracts huge audiences around the globe. Extreme 40 catamarans from nine countries will be raced by some of the world's finest sailors including Olympians, America's Cup veterans, Round the World yachtsmen and World Champions, and with the UK leg taking place in Cardiff, there is a Team Wales catamaran taking part to get the patriotic crowd cheering.
This free event runs across the weekend, enabling visitors to view some spectacular action at close range from around Cardiff's famous waterfront. Cardiff Harbour Festival also features popular annual attractions such as the British Fish Craft Championships where tons of fish go under the knife as the country's top fishmongers compete for the prized crown of British Fish Craft Champion 2012. Cardiff Bay will also host a Continental Market, live music on the Bandstand, alternative end of pier attraction The Last Resort and spectacular Aerial Entertainment.
Olympic silver medallist and one half of the successful British 470 women's duo Hannah Mills will be flying the Welsh flag as part of the wild-card entry Team Wales. Hannah said: "The last few weeks have been amazing, a complete whirlwind! Now I am looking forward to my next challenge; racing with Team Wales at the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff. It will be awesome to return to my home-town as an Olympic medallist and race on the Extreme 40 catamarans- a completely new experience for me. It looks to be a great event and hopefully there will be more winning and more celebration!"
The Team Wales boat is skippered by one of Wales' most talented young sailors, Dave Evans from Cardiff, who at 26 years old will be the youngest competing skipper in the fleet. Dave said: "I can't wait to get into the Extreme 40! Experience seems important in the class, but speaking to some of the current sailors, the racing is quick and snappy just like we are used to in the 49er. We missed out on selection for the Olympics in Weymouth, so it's great to be given a chance to do a big event this summer, and on home waters it will be great to show friends and family what sailing looks like on their doorstep."
Cabinet Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure, Cllr. Huw Thomas, said: "Cardiff Harbour Festival usually brings in the crowds, but this year the atmosphere will be electric around the waterfront. This is the Welsh début for Extreme 40 and is exactly the kind of high calibre event we are consistently attracting to the capital. Hannah Mills won a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics in the most thrilling style and this event is a brilliant opportunity to see our outstanding home-grown Olympian in the flesh. Hannah will play a key part in inspiring a generation and it's wonderful we will see her in action so soon after her memorable exploits in the Games. Her presence adds to an already impressive line-up and it promises to be action-packed day of extreme sailing. I urge everyone to come down to the Harbour Festival, watch a genuine Olympic medallist and enjoy a great day’s sailing in the surroundings of Cardiff Bay."
back to article index