Extreme Sailing Series Appoints New Race Director
Published: Tuesday, 16 August 2016
A world-renowned International Race Official John Craig was appointed the new Race Director for Extreme Sailing Series. He was the Principal Race Officer for the 34th America’s Cup that took place in San Francisco, USA as well for the America’s Cup World Series. He also oversaw the development of World Sailing’s (formerly ISAF) Sailing World Cup and was Race Director for the Red Bull Foiling Generation. Craig is also a former coach to the Canadian Olympic sailing team.
Craig will work closely with current Race Director Phil Lawrence for the remainder of the 2016 Series before taking the reigns in 2017. Lawrence has held the position of Race Director for six years, during which time he has delivered 56 events and has been pivotal through several key evolutions in the Series, including the transition to the GC32.
“The direction of the sport is foiling and with the change in boats for the Extreme Sailing Series, I am really excited about the opportunity to fill Phil’s boots and bring some of the elements I’ve learnt through the America’s Cup and the Foiling Generation to help here,” comments Craig. "I think the product is really good – the event set up, the TV product and the stadium element are all key to moving the sport forward. I’ve followed the Series since I was a guest at the Boston event in 2011 and I have watched as it’s grown. It really is the professional side of the sport.”
“Phil has made an extraordinary contribution to the Series over the last six years and, as a friend and colleague, I wish him well with his next challenge as Race Director at the Volvo Ocean Race,” says Event Director Andy Tourell. “We are thrilled to now welcome Craig as his replacement and I am confident that he has the right combination of race management and commercial expertise to help us continue to drive innovation in our race format, and to maintain the Series’ impeccable safety record.
“We have an extremely strong Race Management team who has a huge amount of experience in delivering the fast-paced and unique Stadium Racing. Craig will join us at an exciting time, with the transition to foiling complete, and I want to take advantage of this new chapter to strengthen our product further.”
The 2017 calendar is set to include a mix of existing and new venues, where some of the stadiums will be opened up to really embrace the foiling boats.
“It’s a balancing Act,” says Craig. “My job is to make sure all parties are happy: sailors, spectators, media and sponsors. It’s about finding great sailing venues that have a bit more space, enough to show the boats in the best conditions and to see their potential. With less physical confines, we will be able to open and diversify the sporting format, whilst remaining true to our core stadium sailing format, which is often emulated but never matched and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
The Notice of Race for the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series will be available in September, with at least eight venues across three continents on the schedule for the 11th year of competition.