ORACLE TEAM USA wins 34th America's Cup

ORACLE TEAM USA won the 34th America’s Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in today’s clincher. Led by 35-year-old skipper Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA won by the score of 9-8.

This is the second America’s Cup win for ORACLE TEAM USA and Spithill, which won the 162-year-old trophy in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010. Then 30 years of age, Spithill became the youngest to ever skipper a Cup winning team.

In the past week ORACLE TEAM USA has steadily improved its boatspeed to the point where it could hydrofoil upwind at 30-32 knots, incredible performance never seen before in the America’s Cup.

“It was a fantastic race. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Spithill, the two-time Cup winner. “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. On your own you’re nothing, but a team like this can make you look great… We were facing the barrel of a gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch.

“Thanks to San Francisco, this is one hell of a day,” Spithill said.

ORACLE TEAM USA’s victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. The team won 11 races to score the 9 points required for victory due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Just last Wednesday, Sept. 18, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed the series 8-1. With the challenger on match point, the defender closed out the series with eight consecutive victories.

This was the third time in the history of the America’s Cup with a winner-take-all final race. Previously, the defender won in 1920 and the challenger won in 1983. Both times the winner rallied from a multi-race deficit, but never anything amounting to eight straight wins.

“This was a wonderful match of teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray, who’s been involved with the America’s Cup since 1983. “In the case of a boat coming from behind, 3-1 down as was the case with Australia II in 83, the shoe is on a different foot this time around. Then it was the challenger behind and this time it was the defender. But in the end we had great competition between two great teams, evenly matched, battling it out to the end.”

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

One million fans visited the official America’s Cup venues at Piers 27/29 and Marina Green since they opened on July 4, and hundreds of thousands more lined the shores of San Francisco Bay to catch a glimpse of the flying, foiling AC72.

Dean Barker, ETNZ Skipper (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

ORACLE TEAM USA – 9 (11 wins; ORACLE TEAM USA was penalized its first two victories by the International Jury)
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8

Race 19 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.07 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:24, ETNZ – 24:08
Delta: OTUSA +:44
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.9 NM, ETNZ – 12.2 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.55 knots (35 mph), ETNZ – 30.55 knots (35 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.33 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 45.72 knots (53 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 18.2 knots, Peak – 21.3 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 9/7, ETNZ – 9/7

34th America’s Cup Race by Race
Race 1 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :36
Race 2 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :52
Race 3 (Sep. 8): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :28
Race 4 (Sep. 8): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :08*
Race 5 (Sep. 10): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:05
Race 6 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :46
Race 7 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:06
Race 8 (Sep. 14): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :52*
Race 9 (Sep. 15): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :47
Race 10 (Sep. 15): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :16
Race 11 (Sep. 18): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :15
Race 12 (Sep. 19): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :31
Race 13 (Sep. 20): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by 1:24
Race 14 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :23
Race 15 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :37
Race 16 (Sep. 23): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :33
Race 17 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :27
Race 18 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :54
Race 19 (Sep. 25): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :44
(* ORACLE TEAM USA’s first two victories don’t count towards is scoreline as part of a penalty issued by the International Jury.)

ORACLE TEAM USA (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

As the sun sets on San Francisco and another America’s Cup the defenders keep the cup and look forward to the 35th America’s Cup and the new generation of sailing.

Sunset in San Francisco (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

Extreme 40 sailing series first leg at the Wave Muscat Oman.22nd February 2011. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40 sailing series first leg at the Wave Muscat Oman.22nd February 2011. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

In brief

  • The tender and selection process for venues interested in hosting an Extreme Sailing Series™ event in 2012-2015 has begun.
  • The bid process closes 13th May 2011, with Host Venue decisions made by 1st July.
  • The Extreme Sailing Series™ is delivering ever increasing tangible, year-on-year, benefits for Host Venues – boosted further by the new global year-long format.


In detail

With the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2011  finishing last week in Oman, the organisers have opened the next round of Host Venue selection process for prospective cities and regions that wish to host an event in 2012 and beyond. The award-winning and innovative circuit provides Host Venues with an outstanding value-for-money destination marketing package, alongside direct economic benefits.

Entering its fifth year, the Extreme Sailing Series™ attracts some of the biggest names in the sport to compete onboard the visually exciting Extreme 40 catamarans – the headline act of an all-encompassing shore and on-water entertainments package that appeals to a diverse audience. In 2011, the circuit spans North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia, with nine premium venues hosting 11 competing teams with sailors from 17 nations. World record holders, America’s Cup champions and seasoned Olympians, representing their sponsor brands such as Prada, Omega and Red Bull, will battle it out in front of the crowds, VIPs and the international media.


 
© Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/OC Events
 

The event brings sailing to a whole new audience, with high adrenalin-fuelled stadium racing just metres from the shore with day-long entertainment in the public Race Village. VIPs are treated to the best seat in sport, with the chance to sail as a ‘5th man’ onboard the Extreme 40s during racing.

In 2011, four new host venues of Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Boston (USA) and Nice (France) have signed up to the circuit, as the fleet returns to previous host venues of Muscat (Oman), Cowes (UK), Trapani (Sicily), Almeria (Spain) and Singapore. All host venues enjoy the direct and indirect benefits of having thousands of spectators visiting the event, as Don Luciano Alonso, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Sports for the Andalucia government explains: “The hotels were 90% full, 75,000 spectators watched the event… The results we have witnessed make it clear that we made the right decision when we bought the Extreme Sailing Series™ for Almeria.” An independent report commissioned by the region confirmed a 5 times ROI on their financial investment.


  © Paul Wyeth/OC Events

Each Act gives the Host Venue a solid international platform to showcase the region and its marine facilities to the world, as well as promoting the sport of sailing within their local community. The Extreme Sailing Series™ is proud to leave a lasting legacy in each location, activating charitable, volunteer and try sailing programmes for all ages and experience levels.

Prior to the opening Act at The Wave, Muscat, Oman Sail, CEO, David Graham commented: “The value of hosting such events is enormous in terms of inspiring even more Omanis to discover sailing and writing the next chapter of Oman’s maritime history. We expect to bring many new visitors to Oman and many others to see the country through the global media coverage the event will generate.”


© Th.Martinez / Sea & Co
 

The venues visited by the Extreme Sailing Series™ are a vital element for its continued success and expansion, and the organisers recognise their importance by providing a powerful Destination Marketing package delivering excellent, proven ROI. In 2010, a significant number of venues from around the world approached OC ThirdPole directly to secure a spot on this year’s circuit, with those chosen now forming a mix of iconic cities, premium venues, great sailing destinations and emerging (sailing) markets.  

As of today, proposals are welcomed from cities and regions that feel they can offer what it takes to host a great Extreme Sailing Series™ event for the next three years, beginning in 2012. Bids will be evaluated on the same criteria that were applied to select the 2011 venues. First and foremost, a suitable venue that can facilitate the ‘stadium’ racing concept, strong support from local governments and authorities, the ability to attract tens of thousands of spectators and a solid regional and national marketing and communications plan. To receive the Host Venue Tender document that outlines the full rights package and criteria, please email sarah.collins@octhirdpole.com

6
It was what has become a classic Extreme Sailing Series™ finish to Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat, Oman. The all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild clinched victory in the final double points race at the end of an astonishing 32 races over 5 days. “I didn’t know what to expect in terms of emotion in the case of victory, I didn’t have time to digest it as my crew threw me in the water,” said an emotional Pierre Pennec who was in tears at the finish. “I am very emotional as it’s a lot of work, a lot of personal investment. It’s a long time now that I wanted to drive an Extreme 40, and winning ahead of all these champions, it’s amazing.”
Two races from the end, and the entire top 7 boats could in theory still win the event! With 22 points available in the final seventh race of today, both Artemis Racing and Red Bull Extreme Sailing were able to take victory, but in the end Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing finished in 4th place, one place ahead of Pennec’s men who had therefore done enough, Terry commented: “It’s good to see that all our hard work since the end of 2010 has paid off but there is still much room for us to improve. We’re having a little bit of a crew rotation for Act 2 in Qingdao, so there will be lots of work to do”. Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series will be staged between the 15th to 17th April in Qingdao, China, preceded by two open-water racing days.
Roman Hagara, skipper of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, leapt on to the prizegiving stage with his crew of Hans Peter Steinacher, Will Howden and Craig Monk, jubilant at having secured third place. For the Olympic duo of Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, who competed together last year on the European tour, this is their best ever result: “We are very happy tonight, that is the result we were looking for,” said Steinacher. “The level is up again a lot this year and the all fleet is very tight together, it’s really tough! But we are in fighting mode!”
A total of 32 races were held over the five days – 11 races out on the open water courses on the first two days, and the remaining 21 within the confines of the ‘stadium’ right in front of the public. The second day delivered the most breeze – up to 21 knots – with the breeze softening to between 5-10 knots in the last two days. As Hutchinson observed: “It’s interesting to see that in strong winds Alinghi and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were doing very well, but since the wind is lighter some of the new teams are much stronger.”
The final day of Act 1, one of the headline acts of the Muscat Festival, coincided with the last day the Festival. It was a fitting end to Oman’s annual cultural celebration and Act 1 of the 2011 circuit ended on a high as the party atmosphere kicked off at The Wave, Muscat. In front of the public and VIPs a traditional Muscat band entertained the crowds with upbeat, pulsing music before the official prizegiving began in the presence of His Excellency Al Sunaidi, Minister of Sports Affairs. After the trophies had been given out to the deserving 11 Extreme 40 teams, including the top three teams in the Beach Football League, the Red Bull show swung into action as nine time World Champion trial biking, Kenny Delay, performed an incredible stunt as he leapt from Extreme 40 container to container. Thousands of public enjoyed the last day’s racing, cheering the Extreme 40 teams across every finish line.
Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand had a big comeback in the second half of the Act to finish in 4th place overall, beating Italy’s Luna Rossa by 2 points. Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa team that includes Britain’s Paul Campbell-James, defending 2010 Extreme Sailing Series skipper, struggled with consistency but seven first places over the five days including a win in the double-points final race ensured they kept the chasing Alinghi team at bay. For the home teams of The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air the script didn’t quite go to plan. The Wave, Muscat skipper Torvar Mirsky, new to the game and the youngest skipper on the tour, was impressive in the opening half of the Act – adapting well from one hull to two. But some pushy tactics had them in trouble with the umpires and they dropped from third place on day 3 to seventh place. Oman Air’s Sidney Gavignet, also new to his role as Extreme 40 skipper, reveled in the experience ably supported by his experienced crew and although 8th place may not be where he wished to finish, it was a good first competitive Extreme 40 learning experience. Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme and the all-Italian team Niceforyou, alongside Britain’s Ian Williams on Team GAC Pindar were on the sharp end of the learning curve having arrived at Act 1 with limited training and boat preparation time. But expect to see these top class sailors get into the groove as the season progresses. These sailors represent the hottest in the sport and as the Act 1 winning skipper put it: “They are improving fast and the competition will get even tighter soon.”
Bring on Qingdao!
Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Overall Results after 32 races:
Pstn / Team / Skipper/crew / points
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham / 253 points
2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers / 243 points
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk / 239 points
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Richard Meacham / 236 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena / 234 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Carioiu / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / 217 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri / 208 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari / 188 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Michael Walther / 143 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Alberto Sonino / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari / 95 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth / 62 points

The fleet racing close to the shore (Photo © Lloyd Images )

The fleet racing close to the shore (Photo © Lloyd Images )

On the penultimate day of racing at Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman the action came thick and fast, with both Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Team New Zealand delivering the most outstanding performances of the day. Roman Hagara and the crew of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, lying in 5th overall going into today, are now on the podium lying in third place after 25 races: “We are really happy now we are third overall and it’s great for us. We are almost beginners and it is the best result so far and I hope we can continue. We have a lot of experience in the Extreme 40 already and Craig (Monk) is really strong so he can do a lot of things that we can not handle without him, and those last minute calls are a bit easier so overall we made a good improvement.”
For Dean Barker and the boys on Team New Zealand it was an even better day, climbing from 7th to 4th in the rankings: “Today everything fell into place really well and we had a fantastic day on the water and managed to get some good solid results which was very pleasing for all of us,” said Barker. “It was a day where in a lot of ways we had a little bit of luck, which seems to be an important ingredient here, and we had some good starts and the crew were solid all day. We might have started the regatta slow but each day it feels like we have improved a little bit and if we can carry on improving then we’ll be satisfied.”

Oman Air crew in action during racing (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Oman Air crew in action during racing (Photo © Lloyd Images )

A total of eight ‘stadium’ races were staged off The Wave, Muscat that saw six different teams claim at least one race win, Team New Zealand scored two first places and the all-Italian team Niceforyou delighted in their first race win of 2011: “I feel happy and happy for my crew that they did a very good job,” said skipper Alberto Barovier. “The boat handling today was perfect and all the tactical choices were good, not all the races but most.” Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, helmed by Pierre Pennec, were consistently good enough today to hold on to their top place ranking, just 7 points ahead of Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing. With 11 points for a win, and 22 points on the final race tomorrow, its wide open in the top half of the leaderboard. As Dean Barker summed up: “There’s a lot of points still on the table going so its going to be hard.”

Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara (Photo © Lloyd Images)

The short and demanding courses raced within the constraints of the stadium saw the on-water umpires dish out multiple penalties for blocking and port-starboard incidents in the light 7-9 knot NE breeze. The most dramatic incident of the day came when Torvar Mirsky’s The Wave, Muscat suffered a collision with Alinghi, and very nearly ended up on the breakwater boulders. As Mirsky’s crew called for water and tacked on to port, Alinghi did not react quickly enough and crashed into their port hull. The Wave, Muscat carried on racing but has been craned out tonight to undergo a long night of repairs. The team has confirmed they will be back racing tomorrow and they are still very much in the game lying in 5th place overall. Only 2 points separate Luna Rossa in 6th place and Alinghi in 7th. Right now, 7 of the 11 teams could still win Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series with multiple races to come and double-points up for grabs in the final race.
Away from the racing, the 11 Extreme 40 teams are flying their dockside flags at half-mast today and tomorrow as a sign of respect to the people of New Zealand who have been affected by the earthquake that struck Christchurch on Tuesday. With Kiwi crew amongst the 44 sailors here, everyone’s thoughts have turned to New Zealand and the challenges they now face.

The football tournament in the race village (Photo © Lloyd Images )

The football tournament in the race village (Photo © Lloyd Images )

The Extreme Sailing Series has elected this year to nominate a charity from each host venue, different to 2010 when each team had an elected charity. For the first act here in Oman, the national Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has been chosen. The ESO is a non-governmental society which aims to help conserve Oman’s stunning natural heritage and raise awareness about environmental issues. Founded in 2004 by Omanis across the country, representing a variety of professional backgrounds, with the key aim of ensuring Oman’s natural heritage remains intact for future generations to enjoy. ESO is eager to drive hands-on projects that not only achieve their environmental protection goals but also help raise public awareness and the need for conservation.    http://www.environment.org.om

Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Leg 1. Muscat. Oman (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Leg 1. Muscat. Oman (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 4 Results after 25 races:
Pstn / Team / Skipper/crew / points
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham / 194 points
2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers / 187 points
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk / 183 points
4th Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glen Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas / 176 points
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri / 165 points
6th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena / 163 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Carioiu / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / 161 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari / 143 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Michael Walther / 96 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Alberto Sonino / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari / 75 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth / 43 points

Dean Barker and his crew mid race onboard Team New Zealand (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Dean Barker and his crew mid race onboard Team New Zealand (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Artemis Racing in race mode (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Artemis Racing in race mode (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The first public day of ‘stadium’ racing saw the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet racing bang up to the shore in front of the spectators and VIPs on day 3 of Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat. Terry Hutchinson and his crew on Artemis Racing had an exceptional day elevating them from fifth overall at the end of yesterday to second place overall today – they are now just three points adrift of the leaders Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “We had a brilliant day on the water today, there were a lot of people on the shore line – close enough to hear them cheering on the finish line. I have never experienced something like that before. It was a first!” said Hutchinson back on shore. “The stadium racing format delivered everything it promised – short and intense races right in front of the spectators. When you have a good day you love it, when you have a bad day you hate it, and we absolutely loved it today!” Pierre Pennec and his all-French crew, after yesterday’s storming performance, had an average day but they have clung on to the top of the leaderboard after 17 races.

Dean Barker’s Team New Zealand scored their first ever Extreme 40 race win today, although they still remain 7th place in the rankings: “It’s nice to win one but we have to do it a few more times,” said Dean Barker. “We clearly feel the improvement but still need to do a lot better.” Germany’s Roland Gaebler scored his best regatta result so far with a third place putting some big smiles on the faces of the Team Extreme crew.

Whilst the racing played out within meters of the shore, the public Race Village came to life with the Beach Football League and the Red Bull Freestyle shows. And if the public couldn’t get to The Wave, Muscat to see the live action, then they could watch it on national TV as Oman TV broadcast live throughout the afternoon.

Today’s conditions were less challenging than on the previous two days with 7-9 knots of NNE breeze, but the 44 sailors had to contend with racing on shorter and tighter race courses within the confines of the ‘stadium’. Five fleet races were staged today, ending with a round of one-on-one match races, and today’s performance has seen a number of place changes on the overall rankings. The home team of The Wave, Muscat retain their 3rd place but took a while to find their form today, as did the Alinghi team – two 4th places being their best result today – dropping them two places 4th overall. Oman Air went into today’s racing in 6th place and Sidney Gavignet’s team will be disappointed to now be in 8th place. But they are only 1 point behind Dean Barker’s Team New Zealand, who in turn are only 1 point behind Luna Rossa who climbed 2 places on the leaderboard today after storming out of the starting blocks of the first race to secure their first race win.

Luna Rossa racing on day 3 (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Luna Rossa racing on day 3 (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Whilst the best sailors in the world did battle on the Extreme Sailing Series, the future of Omani sailing talent took to the water in Optimist dinghies – each Oppie represents one of the Extreme 40 teams – in the ‘Try Sailing’ sessions and were delighted to be presented to the public on the Extreme Sailing Series main stage at the end of the day.

Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 3 Results after 17 races:

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 133 points
2nd Artemis Racing, 130 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat, 124 points
4th Alinghi, 121 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 120 points
6th Luna Rossa, 103 points
7th Team New Zealand, 102 points
8th Oman Air, 101 points
9th Team Extreme, 59 points
10th Niceforyou, 37 points
11th Team GAC Pindar, 29 points

Extreme 40 sailing series first leg at the Wave Muscat Oman.22nd February 2011. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40 sailing series first leg at the Wave Muscat Oman.22nd February 2011. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild racing on day 2 (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild racing on day 2 (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The all-French crew onboard Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Pierre Pennec were on fire today hardly putting a foot wrong with three wins out of five races on day 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series at The Wave, Muscat. The Swiss team of Alinghi led by Tanguy Cariou and helmed by Yann Guichard, ably supported by the crew of Nils Frei and Yves Detrey, won the first race and were in the top three in the first three races which secured them second place overall. Home team, The Wave, Muscat struggled to begin with then posted a 2nd, 1st and a 2nd to grab third place by the end of the day, nine points ahead of Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing who were really consistent in their performance today.

Terry Hutchinson’s team on Artemis Racing didn’t quite have the day they hoped for, after ended up in a four-way tie at the top at the end of play yesterday. They have now dropped to fifth overall, just 2 points ahead of Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air team. Some of the teams new to the circuit are finding the going a little tougher with little training time, they are at the beginning of the Extreme 40 learning curve. But that doesn’t seem to have dampened their spirits: “It was another fantastic day, it can not be better with the wind direction and the sea breeze we had today. I would say it’s a sailing paradise here in Oman,” said Team Extreme skipper Roland Gaebler. “There was a lot more action on the water, a lot of nose-diving but at least no capsizes but it was close thing.”

For Niceforyou skipper Alberto Barovier and his all-Italian team learning fast is the name of the game: “We are learning about the boat all the time, how to drive it, how to round the mark. You need to get the best of the day and learn the most for the future. We are a new team, new at multihulls, especially with this breeze. We never even took a reef before! We need to stay quiet, learn and take everything point we can and learn from all the mistakes we are doing.”

With up to 21 knots the 11-boat fleet raced the first race with a reef in the mainsail, and it was wet ride on board in a short, choppy sea state. The wind decreased slightly throughout the afternoon to around 16 knots but the 44 sailors handled the conditions well: “The starts have been very impressive so far,” said Gilles Chiorri, Events Director. “They are all very close together with two different strategies – some starting fast on starboard with right of way, whilst the others opting to find a space on port which them gave the advantage of one less tack on the first windward leg which saves them about 4 to 5 boat lengths which is a lot as the racing is so close.”

The 11-boat fleet have enjoyed some fantastic sailing conditions here in Oman over the past two days on the open-water courses, but from tomorrow Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat will be open to the public and, as such, the racing will be staged close to shore in front of the spectators within the confines of a ‘stadium’ race course. “I hope that everything goes well tomorrow, it will be a completely different game but we will try to stay out of the traffic, not to get into trouble or cause any,” said Roland.

Racing starts at 1400 local time (1000GMT) tomorrow with the Race Village opening to the public between 1100-1800 local time. An array of on shore entertainment has been arranged for the thousands of public expected to attend over the next three days.

Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 2 Results after 11 races:*

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 101 points
2nd Alinghi, 91 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat, 89 points
4th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 80 points
5th Artemis Racing, 76 points
6th Oman Air, 74 points
7th Team New Zealand, 64 points
8th Luna Rossa, 62 points
9th Team Extreme, 36 points
10th Niceforyou, 32 points
11th Team GAC Pindar, 21 points

• Provisional: Luna Rossa has requested redress after port/starboard incident with Niceforyo

Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Leg 1. Muscat. Oman (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Leg 1. Muscat. Oman (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Day 1 of Act 1 of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series delivered a class Extreme 40 result – four boats finished on equal points at the top of the leaderboard – The Wave, Muscat, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Artemis Racing and Alinghi.

The conditions too were near perfect at The Wave, Muscat with a breeze that was on the positive side of 10-12 knots for most of the afternoon which allowed six ‘open water’ races to be staged off the waters of The Wave, Muscat. The new ‘young gun’ on the circuit, Torvar Mirsky, ensured home team of The Wave, Muscat claimed the top spot with two first places and a second place, getting the defending champions off to the perfect start. “Amazing conditions today, Oman’s got warm weather and a beautiful sea breeze, perfect sailing conditions for these Extreme 40 boats. For us, it was an amazing performance beyond what we expected. I know a lot of people thought we would be up there but I wasn’t so sure. Our team are working really well together – Nick Hutton and Khamis have done a really good job to get myself and Kyle Langford up to speed on these boats and we’re all working well together.” But always waiting to pounce was Pierre Pennec, the new skipper of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, who showed his mettle today as his all-French crew stepped up to the mark.

Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing crew, who demonstrated their strong form in yesterday’s practice races, continued in the same vein: “It’s the end of day 1 racing here in Oman and we’ve found ourselves in a four-way tie and I think that just sums up how the racing is, its just close and tight and everyone is battling for every point. It was brilliant, it’s the Extreme 40 delivered to the ‘tee’ today and, I think, from a novice in the multhihull world we are smiling! It was a really good day.”

Alinghi skippered by Tanguy Cariou and with Yann Guichard at the helm who, if you remember, put Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the podium for the last two years in second place overall is looking forward to the public ‘stadium’ days which start the day after tomorrow: “It’s a good start, we just make 5 practice races in four days, so its good to be at the top of the rankings. It sets us up well for the next day and especially the ‘stadium’ racing when it will be great to have the public and to have some tough and tight races.”

Team New Zealand with the fleet (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Team New Zealand with the fleet (Photo by Lloyd Images)

At the other end of the scale, match racing pro Ian Williams new to two hulls had a baptism of fire on Team GAC Pindar – the best result an 8th place. The umpires were kept busy – a clear sign the 11-boat fleet are pushing hard already – handing out multiple penalties to the all-Italian team Niceforyou.

And as the new teams and crew accelerate up the learning curve and their confidence grows, the combat will become even more intense. As the day 1 leader put it: “It couldn’t be closer… There are a lot of really good teams here and a lot of newcomers to the fleet who are really competitive people, and we always knew it was going to be tight and the results show that.”

Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 1 Results after 6 races:

1st The Wave, 49 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 49 points
3rd Artemis Racing, 49 points
4th Alinghi, 49 points
5th Oman Air, 42 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 39 points
7th Luna Rossa, 38 points
8th Team New Zealand, 31 points
9th Niceforyou, 24 points
10th Team Extreme, 17 points
11th Team GAC Pindar, 9 points

The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Extreme 40 The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40 The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Lloyd Images)

orld Champions and ocean racing record holders, will be squaring up against Olympians and America’s Cup hotshots, in the impressive roll call for the Extreme Sailing Series™ this year.  The full crew line-ups are unveiled today ahead of the first Extreme Sailing Series™ Act to be hosted in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman in February (20th-24th, stadium days 22nd-24th).

With a wealth of new teams and crew representing 15 nationalities, the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series season promises to be the most competitive yet with 11 boats manned with talent from every corner of competitive yacht racing – and the stats are impressive:

29 Olympians
12 Records set/broken
97 World Championships contended
11 Round the World navigations
69 America’s Cup sailed
4 Olympic Gold Medals
2 Olympic Silver Medals
2 Olympic Bronze Medals

Olympic and America’s Cup sailors dominate the teams this year – Terry Hutchinson (USA) Artemis Racing, Dean Barker (NZL) Team New Zealand, Roland Gaebler (GER) Team Extreme, Roman Hagara (AUT) Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Sidney Gavignet (FRA) Oman Air, are just some of the superstars for 2011 who will be raising the bar ever higher.

Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave, Muscat will inherit the ‘young-gun’ title from the skipper he is replacing, Paul Campbell-James. Campbell-James’ unabashed and aggressive style saw him grab the 2010 title from the more seasoned skippers and, no doubt, his new Luna Rossa team will be hoping for a repeat performance.  At the other end of the age spectrum the experience is mind-blowing – Olympian Roman Hagara has attended the Olympic Games six times, winning two gold medals and Team Extreme skipper Roland Gaebler won bronze. 2008 Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson and his Artemis Racing team have between them competed in the America’s Cup an impressive 15 times.
Terry Hutchinson onboard Extreme 40 Artemis Racing
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will return for their third Extreme 40 season having finished second overall for the past two years, but this time the all-French team will be headed up by Pierre Pennec replacing Yann Guichard who is now driving for Alinghi. Pennec, who represented his country at the Sydney Olympics in the Tornado Class, has been instrumental in the team’s success to date and is relishing the chance of leading the team. Guichard, having made the switch to Alinghi, is in good company under the leadership of Tanguy Cariou (previously with Franck Cammas’ Groupama 40) and seasoned mulithull sailors Nils Frei and Yves Detrey. On team Niceforyou an all-Italian line-up, skippered by Alberto Barovier, will use their combined America’s Cup experience to the max. Team GAC Pindar will return for a full season in 2011, at the helm match racing supremo Ian Williams who is stepping from one hull to two in his first Extreme 40 venture.  This diverse range of competitive skills and experience is going to turn up the heat on the 2011 circuit making the outcome almost impossible to predict.

Going into this season probably at least two thirds of the teams have the experience, talent and sheer nerve to win, and they could all climb on to the podium.  Paul Campbell James, helmsman of the 2010 winning team, now signed with Luna Rossa gives his assessment: “Artemis Racing and The Wave, Muscat again will be strong. They [The Wave, Muscat] have Torvar, who has done a bit of 49ering and a lot of match racing and they have Nick [Hutton] and Khamis [Al Anbouri] back with them. You can’t rule out Alinghi and Team New Zealand. It is going to be wicked season!”

Pictures of the Luna Rossa EX40 catamaran training prior to the start of the 2011 race series (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Pictures of the Luna Rossa EX40 catamaran training prior to the start of the 2011 race series (Photo by Lloyd Images)