During the next stage of the Extreme Sailing Series, held in St. Petersburg, Russia was visited by Australian Mitch Booth, co-author of the idea of catamaran Extreme 40. It should be noted that he didn't come to rest on his laurels - and he has enough of them, believe me. Mitch Booth, 52, came to Russia to chase a newcomer to the series, Team Turx team, where he plays the role of skipper.
Meech answered some of our questions, we recorded the most interesting moments.
About St. Petersburg
This is a difficult stage: there are a lot of currents and therefore it is very difficult to understand the proper course. The current can drag you too far behind the sign and it will not be easy to return later. On such a short distance, you need to look for balance and avoid unnecessary manoeuvres, keeping them to a minimum. That's the point - teams need to find the best way to deal with the situation.
It's about how it started
We had an idea to create a boat attractive to sponsors. We came from much smaller Olympic catamarans (ItBoat: Tornado class). Our task was to make a bigger version, to stick sponsors' logos and to hold stadium races closer to the public. And here we are, our idea came true!
About the Extreme 40 concept.
We wanted to make yachting available to the public and bring it closer to shore. We started with the Volvo Ocean Race where we had five Extreme 40 catamarans (note ItBoat: in the 2006 season the Extreme 40 catamarans competed in the coastal VOR races). We specifically designed these boats for this type of competition (ItBoat: we mean coastal races where spectators can easily follow). As a result OC Sport saw a commercial advantage in our idea and became the sponsor and organizer of the Extreme Sailing Series.
In the «America»'s Cup, match races are held off the coast. At the Olympic Games, the medal race is held in a «stadium» format. If you go to the sea, chase and return there, no one will see anything. People come to see the race live in real time - it's an exciting spectacle.
About the «America's Cup.»
I have always dreamed of racing catamarans in the «America»'s Cup. When we created the Extreme 40, we realized that multihulls could be a good solution for America's Cup. When they moved to multihulls, we thought, "«Here, this is perfect!»In fact, they took a lot from the Extreme Sailing Series. It was nice to see that we and they were «growing» together.
Extreme 40 are monotypes. These boats have very good sailing qualities, but they are not equipped with the latest technology. There are designs that evolve every year. The Extreme 40 has been around for ten years now and they are still modern thanks to their design and speed, but hard sailing hydrofoils are much more sophisticated improvements and the «America»'s Cup is just about them.
(ItBoat: changes have also affected the Extreme Sailing Series. Right after the races in St. Petersburg, OC Sport announced the transition to a new type of boat next season).
About Extreme's secrets.
The key to success in racing at Extreme 40 is the team's performance. Things change very quickly here, so a strong, well coordinated team with good communication is the most important factor.
About the guests on the catamaran.
The team consists of 5 people. We started with four, but then increased the crew so that we could take on board an amateur, a beginner or a woman. During the race, there can be a guest on board the catamaran, so there are six people on board at most.
This was the idea from the beginning, one of the key points of the Extreme 40 class. I don't know of any other sport where the spectator has the opportunity to participate directly in the competition. It's not possible in a football team, in motorsport either. You can try it, but not in a competition. And yachting allows you to do it, and it is a unique experience.
The editorial staff of itBoat thanks the Matrioshka Sailing agency for their help with the interview.