Land Rover BAR Academy ready for a massive 2017

GC 32 Class 2017 Championship to be sailed at Muscat, Oman, from Monday 27th February to Sunday 5th March 2017 (first day of racing Tuesday 28th February). Organised by the GC32 International Class Association in conjunction with OC Sport The Regatta Venue and the Regatta Office will be at Oman Sail, Al Mouj – The Wave, Muscat, Oman. Photo credit Jesús Renedo / GC32 Championship Oman - Muscat - Oman
© Jesus Renedo/GC32 Championship Oman 2017
Jesus Renedo/GC32 Championship Oman 2017

The Land Rover BAR Academy is ready for a truly massive second year; competing once again in the Extreme Sailing Series, and then facing their biggest challenge yet in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda in June. The team announced their sailing squad for what should be a fantastic season of racing, as they travelled to Muscat, Oman for the first of two events.

The opening Act of the Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) 2017 starts in Oman on 8th March, but the new Land Rover BAR Academy squad will head out early to take the opportunity to compete in the GC32 Championship from 27th February. This will be the first time that the GC32 Racing Tour and Extreme Sailing Series have held a combined event, and the big fleet should provide a lot of excitement.

The following week will see the Land Rover BAR Academy team begin their second ESS season, once again in Oman for the first event of the year. They will join seven teams for the four-day event over the 8-11th March. The racing will take place against the stunning and dramatic backdrop of Muscat’s Old Town and will see a mixture of the signature stadium racing along with coastal racing in the foiling GC32 catamaran.

Land Rover BAR Academy. Extreme Sailing Series 2016, Act 8 Sydney - Sydney - Australia
© Jesus Renedo

The second ESS event starts on 28th April in Qingdao, China after which the team will contest the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup from 12th to 16th June (qualifiers) and 20th - 21st June (finals), on the America’s Cup race course on the Great Sound in Bermuda. They will then resume the ESS in Madeira on 29th June, going on to race in Hamburg, Cardiff, San Diego and Los Cabos before the season ends.

The Land Rover BAR Academy have come a long way since racing in their first ever event in Oman this time last year, when senior Land Rover BAR sailors Leigh McMillan, Bleddyn Mon and Ed Powys mentored the first group of Academy triallists. After a lot of intense coaching and training, both on the water and in the gym, the Land Rover BAR Academy finished the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series in fifth place; winning races at the Sydney Act – a brilliant result for a first-time team of young sailors.

At the end of last year, Neil Hunter was promoted to the Land Rover BAR senior team, and is now training in Bermuda ahead of the America’s Cup which begins in May. Rob Bunce will step up into the skipper’s role for the first event of the season, while Neil will rejoin the Academy when they arrive in Bermuda for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

The crew will all be rotating their roles: Oli Greber, Adam Kay and Sam Batten will be rotating as trimmers and float role, while, Chris Taylor and Owen Bowerman will be rotating on the helm and Elliot Hanson and Will Alloway will rotate on main trimmer. This will also be the first event that the newest recruit, female sailor Annabel Vose will be onboard the team’s GC32 as strategist as they train for when the team sails with six on board as they will for the RBYAC .

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Land Rover BAR Academy: Neil Hunter, Chris Taylor, Will Alloway, Sam Batten/Adam Kay/Oli Greber, Rob Bunce, Neil Hunter .Act 8.Sydney,Australia. 8th-11th December 2016. Credit - Jesus Renedo/Lloyd Images - Sydney - Australia
© Jesus Renedo
Jesus Renedo

Rob Bunce, Skipper, said:
“It is a real honour to step up into the role of Skipper for the first Extreme Sailing Series event of the year in Muscat, Oman. As a team, we were really happy with how we ended the 2016 season in Sydney. Our goals and targets were achieved and we really started to gel as a squad and prove to the other teams that we are tough competition. I have big shoes to fill taking over from Neil, but I hope to lead the Land Rover BAR Academy team into the season and look to continue developing and staying amongst the front of the fleet. We have worked hard over the winter both on and off the water in the gym, so we all feel very prepared going into the season.”

Rob Andrews, Sailing Team Manager, said:
“For the Land Rover BAR Academy, sailing in the Extreme Sailing Series gives us unique stadium race practice against other foiling boats. The fleet is so close and that allows us to see how our boat handling, tactics and starting are progressing which is almost impossible to replicate in training. The Extreme Sailing Series is also a great vehicle for our sponsors to activate on a global stage and bring their guests to the events. They love the stadium racing, plus the opportunity to experience sailing on the GC32 and interact with the Land Rover BAR Academy sailors, some of whom we hope will be the new generation of Land Rover BAR senior sailors.”

Watch the action live on 11th and 12th March on YouTube

Land Rover BAR Academy Squad:
Rob Bunce – Skipper
Will Alloway – Main Trimmer
Sam Batten – Trimmer / Float
Owen Bowerman – Helm
Oli Greber – Trimmer / Float
Elliot Hanson – Main Trimmer
Adam Kay – Trimmer / Float
Chris Taylor – Helm
Annabel Vose - Strategist