Madeiran President gives thumbs up to island chain’s first Extreme Sailing Series event

The President of the Madeira Islands branded the Extreme Sailing Series™ “fantastic” as the global Stadium Racing tour made its debut on the turquoise waters of the Portuguese archipelago.

President Miguel Albuquerque heaped praise on the event following four days of racing off the coast of Funchal, the capital of Madeira, in the sixth Act of the 2016 season.

As well as delivering exciting racing, the regatta was the perfect showcase for Madeira as a tourist destination. It was the first time that the island chain, which lies around 250 miles to the north of the Canary Islands in the north Atlantic, has ever hosted the Extreme Sailing Series.

“I think the Extreme Sailing Series has been fantastic - not only me but all the people from Madeira and our tourists think so too,” President Albuquerque said. “We’re all very impressed with this racing, I think it’s the Formula 1 of sailing.”

Fourteen races were held over the course of the Act in Funchal Bay’s light airs, with the action taking place just metres from the shore in front of thousands of spectators. The Extreme Sailing Series is among the biggest sporting events ever hosted by Madeira.

President Albuquerque, a former Mayor of Funchal, was on hand to congratulate the teams at the event’s prizegiving which saw Swiss crew Alinghi crowned Act 6 champions. He said that welcoming the Extreme Sailing Series to Madeira was a huge boost for the islands.

“It’s very important for Madeira to host events like the Extreme Sailing Series because we are very connected with the sea, the sea is special to us,” he said.

“We have lots of different watersports in Madeira and we want to improve the sailing here, for the population, for the tourists and for the competitions themselves. We have great conditions here and we want to attract the best events in sailing, just like the Extreme Sailing Series.”

The penultimate Act of the Extreme Sailing Series takes place in Portugal’s capital city Lisbon from October 6 to 9.