Team New Zealand to return
Sailing fans in Singapore will be in for a treat next month, as Emirates Team New Zealand have been confirmed as the 10th entry in this year's Extreme Sailing Series.
Led by America's Cup skipper Dean Barker, the Kiwi team are set to do battle in the Stadium Race that includes three-time winners The Wave from Muscat, as well as last year's runners-up Alinghi from Switzerland.
Barker will be sharing skippering duties with Peter Burling who, along with Blair Tuke, won the men's 49er silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.
Said Barker: "I will skipper five. We will rotate sailing squad members through the other crew positions.
"Between the two of us, we will be able to field competitive crews through the year."
Barker will lead his team for the first two acts - in Singapore from Feb 20 to 23 and Muscat, Oman, from March 19 to 22.
Burling will then take over for the following two acts in Qingdao, China, in May and the Stadium Race in St Petersburg, Russia, in June.
The New Zealand team last competed in the series in 2011, when they were last in the first act in Almeria, Spain.
Barker said: "Extreme 40 racing is unlike any other. The teams are very competitive, races are short, the action non-stop and split-second decisions are needed."
The series is in its eighth year and 11 teams will be competing instead of the traditional eight.
Mark Turner, executive chairman of organisers OC Sport, said: "Our model is a commercial model and we attract commercial brands.
"It has been a conscious decision to take additional teams in 2014 as the next Cup cycle gets going again and, in 2015, it certainly won't be a failure to have eight boats again."
For the first time, Singapore will host the curtain-raiser this year, when the fleet will race on The Promontory at Marina Bay.
The starting gun is set for Feb 20.
The 11 teams will embark on an eight-stop global tour that includes the Mediterranean and Sydney, the final leg.
Extreme 40 racing is unlike any other. The teams are very competitive, races are short, the action non-stop and split-second decisions are needed.
- Dean Barker SAILING