NZ Extreme Sailing Team bolstered by America’s Cup champions
Two of the key players in Emirates Team New Zealand’s recent victory in the 35th America’s Cup have joined NZ Extreme Sailing Team for Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5, Hamburg, presented by Land Rover.
Rob ‘Salty’ Salthouse and Josh Junior are the latest in a long list of sailing aces to work with the Kiwi team, which debuted in the ultimate Stadium Racing championship this season. Previous Acts have seen them benefit from the coaching of America’s Cup and Olympic legend Rod Davis, offshore star Tony Rae and multihull expert Mike Drummond.
“It’s really cool being part of the Kiwi team in the Extreme Sailing Series,” said Junior, who was a cyclor on board the New Zealand entry in the America’s Cup and is doing mainsail trim here in Hamburg.
“It’s very different to the America’s Cup. For one I’m pulling ropes, not just riding a bike, which is actually really fun. There’s a bit more going on here, it’s a bit more dynamic, and, with a lot more boats around, it’s more about getting around the course, whereas the Cup is a lot about speed,” added Junior, whose diverse CV includes a seventh-place finish in the Rio Olympics in the Finn class.
The Kiwi squad will benefit from the coaching of four-time America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Rob Salthouse, father of the team’s bowman Josh Salthouse.
“I’m probably a little bit of a father figure for them to be honest. I’m just making sure they do the basics right. These guys are very skilled, they don’t really need to be taught much,” explained Salthouse, who managed the wing programme for Emirates Team New Zealand.
“It’s interesting racing, Stadium Racing like this, where you can have a shocker one race and then go out and win the next. The guys that are going to win the regatta are the guys that keep their consistency up, so I’m hoping that I can add a little bit of that to the team.”
“For me, it’s all very exciting. I get to watch my boy sail, a little bit like following in his father’s footsteps. For his younger life I was away doing a lot of yachting myself, so it’s quite nice to get some of that time back in and hand the baton over,” added Salthouse, whose son, Josh, has been part of the squad since it entered at the start of the season.
“The Extreme Sailing Series and the America’s Cup are very different in a lot of ways but you’re still pushing, you still want to win. In the Extreme Sailing Series you’ve got a one-design boat, so it comes down to pure sailing ability and how you manage yourself around the course and off the start line. It’s a great learning opportunity for these young guys and I hope to see a bunch of the guys here in Auckland for the next Cup,” commented Salthouse on the differences between the two sailing regattas.
NZ Extreme Sailing Team, co-skippered by match racer Chris Steele, currently sits at the bottom of the season leaderboard, but has shown moments of brilliance.
“The guys are setting their goals. I’ve watched the previous events very closely and I see a lot of potential in the boys and, in some ways, they have been a little unlucky not to have a podium finish yet,” explained Salthouse.
“They’re very capable, they’re sailing the boat fast and I think their crew work is very good. They’ve got the ability to do very well, it’s just putting it all together,” he added.
Junior shared the team’s ambitions for the fifth stage of the season, which is held on Hamburg’s River Elbe: “We want to improve throughout this Act, chip away at it. We don’t have to win every race but if we can consistently be in the middle of the fleet and end up near the front when we can it would be pretty cool.”
“We’re a young team and just trying to learn as much as we can off of those guys with the experience,” said Steele. “To have a couple of guys with us who’ve just won the America’s Cup is pretty impressive and we’re just soaking it all in.”
The team will head out as part of the seven-strong international fleet at 13:30 UTC+2 this afternoon for the third day. Fans can watch for free from the public Race Village located at the Hamburg HafenCity Cruise Terminal or watch the live stream on the official Facebook and YouTube from 13:30 – 17:00 UTC+2.