Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat.   (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Massive Omani celebrations at The Wave, Muscat as Oman Air and The Wave score a one-two, squeezing out the French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had finished every day but the last on top

Going into the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series 2012, the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild led by Pierre Pennec were favourites on paper and few would have predicted the final outcome that saw Morgan Larson’s team on Oman Air triumph in their debut here in Muscat, Oman. Four teams were in contention for the podium going into the final double-points race – the new Danish entry, Team Trifork, won the race, but Oman Air did enough to secure victory after an intense battle with the favourites. Leigh McMillan’s team on The Wave, Muscat muscled their way into the two-way fight and raced brilliantly on the final day to finish 2nd overall ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with Austria’s Roman Hagara (Red Bull) in fourth, having been just one point behind the French going into the final race.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat. ( Photo by Lloyd Images)

“It’s an amazing feeling! It was a challenging week and obviously our learning curve was quite steep,” said Larson. “But this was really hard racing and any team could have won going into those last couple of races and we were just lucky they went well for us.” Morgan Larson’s team that includes four-time Olympian Charlie Ogletree and Max Bulger from the States, Britain’s Will Howden and Omani Nasser Al Mashari competing in his second Extreme 40 season, held on to a marginal lead from the opening race today but in the fourth race of the day the pressure mounted… Pushed over the line at the start, Oman Air had to restart and trailed the fleet, Larson’s team finished 7th leaving them on equal points with The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 2 points adrift. In the next race, won by Loick Peyron’s team on ZouLou, McMillan’s team finished ahead of their teammates and pulled ahead by 1 point. By the end of the penultimate race the two Oman Sail teams were back on equal points going into the final double-point decider and Pennec’s team had to win the final race with Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat finishing no better than 6th place. It was too tall an order for the French favourites who managed to get ahead of their rivals to finish the race in 2nd but Oman Air crossed the finish line in 3rd to clinch overall victory after 4 days and 29 races.

“Surely I feel disappointed about not having sailed well today,” said Pierre Pennec, skipper, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. “But this is the nature of the sport and even if this sounds strange, I feel very happy about this week’s competition. I really enjoyed being on the water and despite the fact that this is my fourth year in the Extreme Sailing Series, we have learned a lot in these last few days. My new crew sailed here for the first time and they have shown great human, mental and technical potential. I think it’s fantastic that the two top crews here in Muscat are the local teams. They are going to be seriously competitive this season.”

It proved to be a thrilling opening Act to the season and, after five years of Extreme Sailing Series competition, there is a feeling that 2012 is going to be one of the closest yet. “It’s up to us to catch up and be competitive in China because the goal is to win overall. Third is still a good result – it could be worse! It’s a warning for us,” said Hervé Cunningham, tactician Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Next stop China – Act 2, Qingdao 17th-20th April.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 4, 29 races (2.3.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 165 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 159 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 155 points
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 148 points
5th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 138 points
6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 111 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 109 points
8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 95 points

Quotes from the sailors:

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “It’s an amazing feeling! It was a challenging week and obviously our learning curve was quite steep. But this was really hard racing and any team could have won going into those last couple of races and we were just lucky they went well for us. I’m sure there was a bit of beginner’s luck to this one and we just dug in and focused hard but I know its going to be a challenging season and we’ll get tougher conditions thrown at us and for sure we’re going to have to eat a few of them and we’re just need to keep enjoying the sailing as I think that was the key to our success working together. We knew if we held our position things would be good but in these boats you never know what can happen so you just have to keep on pushing all the way to the finish.”

Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “All day long – we had some really great races, posted a win and some second places, but we couldn’t get away as they all just putting in good results as well. It was really tight and we’re very happy to get second, it came down to a very close light wind race and we got sucked in to a fight mid-fleet and Oman Air got away. But we’re really happy they got their win and it’s great for Oman as a whole.”

Hervé Cunningham, tactician, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Some days you have days like this when nothing comes your way. I’m not looking for excuses but on board today nothing comes our way, it’s not working, bad rhythm, you just wake up a feel like something is wrong and it just shows on the water. The result was not good – few OCS’, too many penalties and lack of confidence because the team is old but it is a new crew. Hats off to Oman Air and The Wave. I understand that we are favourites but inside the team it is a new crew so there is no miracle, we are not as good as we were last year and the other guys have done better than us. They managed to sail at a higher level than us so its up to us to catch up and be competitive in China because the goal is to win overall. Third is still a good result – it could be worse! It’s a warning for us – it’s not going to be easy this year.”

Pierre Pennec, skipper, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Surely I feel disappointed about not having sailed well today, but this is the nature of the sport and even if this sounds strange, I feel very happy about this week’s competition. I really enjoyed being on the water and despite the fact that this is my fourth year in the Extreme Sailing Series, we have learned a lot in these last few days. My new crew sailed here for the first time and they have shown great human, mental and technical potential. I think it’s fantastic that the two top crews here in Muscat are the local teams. They are going to be seriously competitive this season.”

Ian Williams, skipper, GAC Pindar: “We’re a bit disappointed with the overall result of 5th as I think maybe we deserve better. We were way off the pace on day two and those were the 20 points we gave away to pretty much everybody and after that it was very tough to get back.”

Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “The team did a good job but we had a few problems with communications and boat handling. We always worked hard in the races and came up from the back for the last race was not the best for us in the end but that’s the sport.”

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper, Alinghi: “It was fantastic, fantastic. For me it’s great, a different format but I learnt so much every day, every race, it’s what I’m here for. I’m here to experience something different, something the excitement of this format and I really enjoyed myself. It’s close, it’s not very different from a normal regatta, it’s just that everything happens so much faster. In a normal regatta you have close contact or tactical situation with a boat maybe every 10 minutes, here it is every 15 seconds!”

Celebrations in Muscat Oman  (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Celebrations in Muscat Oman (Photo by Lloyd Images

 

Rasmus Kostner, Team Trifork co-skipper and tactician (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

Rasmus Kostner, Team Trifork co-skipper and tactician (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

 Fighting talk on the dockside, find out what the sailors expectations are ahead of the first day of racing for 2012 A new team in the form of Team Trifork from Denmark can finally be unveiled today as the 8th team in the starting blocks for the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2012 in Muscat, Oman. The team will be co-skippered by Jes Gram-Hansen on helm and Rasmus Kostner, tactician, who both come from a World Match Racing Tour and America’s Cup background, alongside the youngest member of the team, 26-year-old Jonas Hviid-Nielsen on bow combined with the Extreme 40 race experience of Pete Cummings (skipper of the winning Extreme 40 team in 2009) and Simon Hiscocks from the UK. It has been a long journey for the Danish team that began a year ago as Jes Gram-Hansen explained: “Rasmus and myself went into different sailing programmes like RC44 and Farr 40 after the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia but all the time our dream was to create our own team. We analysed what kind of circuit would be the one to go with, and with the changes to the America’s Cup and the Extreme Sailing Series being more and more the series to be in, we decided to try and build a team for the Extreme Sailing Series. So we invested all our money into buying a boat a year ago and then we spent most of the year in Denmark taking out business people from companies to show them what we love and what we think would be a good way to be involved in the project. We have long-support from Trifork (a software company) which we have in been a good relationship over the years along with our clothing partner, Simon Spurr, to help get us here to the start line in Muscat.” The team’s expectations are as you would expect for the ‘newbies’ to the tour: “We have a lot of respect for the guys who have been on the tour and some of them have sailed multihulls for a long time,” continued Jens. “We’re here to learn and I’m sure we will make some mistakes but we’ve got two great English guys with us, Simon Hiscocks and Pete Cummings, so, hopefully, they will keep us out of trouble! Hopefully, we’ll improve over the season with a longer term goal of overall victory in a couple of years time.”

Jes Gram-Hansen, Team Trifork co-skipper and helm (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

Jes Gram-Hansen, Team Trifork co-skipper and helm (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

After various stints of team training up the Omani coast at Massanah, the racing starts for real tomorrow, Tuesday, 28th February, in Muscat. The live race coverage will start at 1130 GMT on Wednesday (29th Feb), streaming on Thursday (1st March) and Friday (2nd March). Glamour conditions expected and the sailors are talking it up on the dockside…

Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “We’re starting with a new team here with 2 new crew members – new bowman, Graham Spence from Australia and an amateur sailor from France, Pierre, sailing as our 5th sailor for this event – so we’re looking forward it. We did some good training in Massanah and we’re ready for the first Act. We’ve capsized here before on the Asia Tour (09/10) then last year we made it to the podium. Our goal here is to make to the podium again.”

 Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “We’re looking forward to having some fun with the new team and doing really well. We’ve gelled really well with Will, Charlie, Nasser and Max so I think we’ve got a really good team. The competition is the highest it’s been in a while I think but I think we’ve got some great sailors on board and we’re expecting to be up at the front every race!”

 Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “I think we’re in pretty good shape and we’ve done some good training races but we haven’t raced in anger against any of these guys yet. We hope to get on the podium and start the season well. I think on paper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild maybe favourites but we hope that by the time we get to the end of the season we’ll be challenging for overall victory.”

 Loick Peyron, helmsman, ZouLou: “I’m happy to be back here after a couple of years… We are here with a new team, good friends, good sailors although we have not raced together and we have only trained for 3 days which is not nearly enough. But the game is so interesting and so exciting, and I think it will be more ‘open’ than last year. We will be quite safe – I am fast but not furious! Tanguy Cariou, Tactician, Alinghi: “We all know the stadium racing is a very different game and we will have some good races and some bad ones! We made two training sessions with Ernesto in Massanah. I would say it is a new boat for him, a new format but we are used to sailing together on the D35 on the lake. There are new faces, new people and not all the teams have had the same level of training – I’m pretty sure that in Qingdao and Istanbul the strong teams will emerge but for the first event I’m not so sure, it’s a shakedown.”

EX40 catamaran fleet in action during a practice day. Close to the Muscat shoreline (Photo © Lloyd Images)

EX40 catamaran fleet in action during a practice day. Close to the Muscat shoreline (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme 40s at Extreme Sailing Series Boston 2011 (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme 40s at Extreme Sailing Series Boston 2011 (Photo by George Bekris)

21 Olympians, 36 AC campaigns, 7 circumnavigations, 47 World Championship wins – all-star 9 nation lineup for Extreme Sailing Series 2012

With less than two weeks to go until the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Muscat, Oman, the Act 1 team line-ups have been confirmed, revealing a stellar cast of top professional sailors. Following the final event of 2011 in Singapore last December, the team managers and skippers have spent the last two months securing the best crews possible to help take them to overall victory in 2012.

Once again, the team rosters include world-renowned sailors from a multitude of backgrounds representing 9 different nationalities. French sailing superstar Loick Peyron, Britain’s three-times ISAF World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams, Austria’s double-Olympic Gold medalist Roman Hagara return to the circuit, whilst American double-Olympic Gold medalist Charlie Ogletree and five-times America’s Cup sailor, Bernard Labro from France are two new faces gracing the roll-call. The teams boast an array of Olympic, America’s Cup, match racing and round the world credentials, as well as a sprinkling of ocean racing record setters. The two key cornerstones for success in this highly competitive circuit are experience and consistency and to this end 2011 runners-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild from France and the Swiss team of Alinghi are keeping their crew changes to a minimum, whilst the two Oman Sail teams are sporting a near new line-up with only Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their places. And there are plenty of new team combinations for this season to spice up the competition!

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

Key Stats:
21 Olympians
4 Gold Medalists + 1 Silver
50 Trans-Atlantics
36 America’s Cup campaigns
47 World Championships
28 European Championships
11 records
7 round the world circumnavigations

A new team for the year is ZouLou who will have the current superstar of sailing, Loick Peyron at the helm for Acts 1–3 prior to team owner Erik Maris taking over. One of France’s most well-known sporting exports and a legendary multihull expert who recently shaved almost 3 days off the non-stop round the world Jules Verne record, Peyron will return to the Extreme Sailing Series. In 2010 he was the skipper and helm of 4th place Oman Sail Masirah.

Peyron contrasts his recent experiences: “I can’t wait to go back to the Extreme Sailing Series with ZouLou crew, and especially to Muscat where I already spent a few weeks with the local team in 2009 and 2010. After two round the world tours in one year [Barcelona World Race and Jules Verne] I am really looking forward to going back to this intense racing amongst these top level crews.“

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has retained their core team of Pierre Pennec on helm and Hervé Cunningham introducing two new faces on bow in the form of Bernard Labro and Jean-Christophe Mourniac who raced for another team in Singapore last December. The Swiss team Alinghi will be helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli supported by the regular Extreme 40 Alinghi crew including Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey. Meanwhile, the renowned Austrian duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher on the Red Bull Sailing Team have confirmed that Matthew Adams will be part of the regular racing crew and introduce ‘newbie’ Graeme Spence on bow who makes the step from shore team to race team.

GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams has gone the extra mile to secure a crew who can race with him for the season: “We have assembled a really strong team this year with a great mix of different skill sets. The only real opportunities to practice will be before the first event in Oman and before Act 5 in Cardiff so having a consistent team will be crucial to improving from event to event.” His crew includes Mark Ivey, Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot and Andrew Walsh – all have raced with GAC Pindar for at least one event in 2011 – and this combination will be integral in continuing their upward trend on the leaderboard.

The Oman Sail teams of The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air return this year with only Olympic Tornado sailor Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their roles from last year. McMillan who skippered The Wave, Muscat into fourth place overall in 2011, has handpicked a team that includes previous Extreme 40 sailors Ed Smyth from the USA, Pete Greenhalgh who with his brother Rob won the inaugural 2007 Extreme Sailing Series, and they will be joined by newcomer Omani sailor Hashim Al Rashdi who has come up through the Oman Sail programme.

Oman Air, will be led by record setting America’s Cup sailor Morgan Larson: “I’ve followed the Extreme Sailing Series since its conception and to now be competing on the tour with such a talented group of competitors is a dream come true.” The team that last year had 3 different skippers including Britain’s Olympic star Ben Ainslie, will benefit from the Extreme 40 experience of Olympic sailor Will Howden and Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari who raced in 2011 with Oman Air on bow, whilst double Olympic gold medalist Charlie Ogletree brings a fresh skill set.

In a test aimed at keeping opportunities open for new talent, the teams will race Act 1 with five sailors rather than four, plus a VIP guest or media person when appropriate. This additional 5th sailor must be either female or under 23, or be classified as an amateur by ISAF. Both The Wave and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will sail with female sailors as a result – Rachel Williamson and Adeline Chatelet respectively – the first girls to race since Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson skippered ‘iShares’ in 2009.

An 8th team for Muscat is still to be announced.

Extreme Sailing in Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing in Boston (Photo by George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet In Muscat  (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet In Muscat (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Six Extreme 40 catamarans, three countries, 24 sailors: all on a whistle-stop tour of Asia. The inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia finished on Friday 5 February with the 2009 European Champions Oman Sail Masirah being presented the new Series trophy by royalty in the Sultanate of Oman. DON’T MISS THE WORLD SPORT SHOW, CHANNEL 4, SATURDAY 13TH FEBRUARY (more info below)

Oman Sail's Masirah night-sailing in Singapore during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia.
Oman Sail’s Masirah night-sailing in Singapore during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia.
OC Events

OC Events took the award-winning circuit to the region to demonstrate what a future full-scale circuit with shoreside entertainment, VIP hospitality and, of course, the on-water sailing, could deliver to the region. For this first Asian series, the objective was to engage with the media and commercial sectors, whilst at the third and final event in Muscat, a two-day ‘Extreme Beach Event’ took it up a level engaging the public as well.

“This first Extreme Sailing Series Asia exceeded all our expectations. The spectacular sailing conditions in all three locations brought us tight racing by some of the very best sailors and demonstrated the potential to venue partners, key opinion formers, government officials and the media what a full-scale series could bring to their region in future years,” commented Mark Turner, CEO OC Group, owners of the organising company OC Events. “We developed the European circuit in exactly the same way, starting small with a focus on the VIP and media side and four years later here we are with a multi-stop European tour that saw over 200,000 people watch the action in person in 2009. We made the call to go for this first opening series in pretty tough economic times, but we believe our investment will be successful and are already in discussion with potential new venue and series partners for the 2010/2011 tour,” he concluded.

The Extreme Sailing Series Asia circuit received widespread media attention, not only in the countries it visited, but internationally as the media were entertained by the personalities as well as the action on the water. World Sport (formerly Gillette World of Sport), the internationally distributed sports programming, will include Muscat in this week’s show which will go out on UK Terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 this Saturday (7:30am) and the following Tuesday (01:30am) and across Europe. There has been regular coverage from the series on TV channels including a daily live feed on Oman TV, ITV Meridian and Sky Sports (UK), Eurosport and Euronews (FRA), ATV, ORF 1 & 2 (AUT), Media Corp (SNG) and Mediaset (ITA).

The Extreme 40s set off at the start of the Around the Island Race in Hong Kong
The Extreme 40s set off at the start of the Around the Island Race in Hong Kong
Marco Hong/OC Events

The reach will increase from March 2010 when a 26-minute programme will be distributed and air on channels including Sky Sports (UK), Sport + (FRA), ESPN (Pan-Asia) and Fox Sport (pan-USA & South America).

The circuit began in Hong Kong (20-24 November), racing out of the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for five days including a day with the 200-plus fleet for the annual Around the Island Race, where the Extreme 40s took line honours.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team on Day 1 at Singapore
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team on Day 1 at Singapore
Daria Giuliani/Chili-Sports.com


The six catamarans were then packed up and transported to Marina Reservoir, right underneath the World’s tallest observation tower in Singapore (11-15 December), the first time the stretch of water had been used for a professional sport event.

The series concluded last week in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, where the home team Masirah lifted the inaugural championship trophy. Three days of racing in front of a VIP setup, was followed by an ‘Extreme

Thousands gather on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event
Thousands gather on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Beach Party’ with over 2,000 people gathering at Al Hail beach for a five-a-side football competition, volleyball matches, the Muscat round of the Red Bull Street Style competition as well as watching the racing, which took place in front of government statesmen and royalty for the Omani weekend.

“It’s been exciting introducing new people to the circuit,” commented Emily Caroe, PR Director of OC Events Extreme Sailing Series. “There’s nothing better than welcoming a non-sailor to the circuit, be it World record-breaker Assafa Powell in Singapore or a female journalist in her traditional dress who has never even stepped on a boat before. Persuading them to conquer their fears and step onto an Extreme 40 was not easy, but by the time your back is turned, they are on the helm, or trimming and shouting for the hull to fly even higher. It’s such a great experience and provides them with a unique story.”

Fleet racing on day 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat.
Fleet racing on day 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Seventy journalists attended the three, five-day events, and when conditions allowed stepping onboard and racing in the fifth man positions onboard the six Extreme 40s. Andreas Tzortzis, from international magazine, Red Bulletin, raced with double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson onboard Rumbo Almeria. “That was absolutely fantastic. You are absolutely in the thick of it and that is an experience you don’t normally have in sailboat racing unless you are racing yourself. As a spectator, or even as a journalist you don’t nearly get so close so it gives you an understanding of the amount of pressure they are under. It is absolutely astonishing.”

There have been over 180 pieces of quality coverage from the three events, with press junkets at each venue to experience Extreme racing first hand. Journalists attended from Sina.com, China’s leading online portal which ran daily reports, China Boating, The Business Times and Today Newspaper all visited the opening event in Hong Kong. An international visit of GCC media attended the final event in Muscat including journalists from Men’s Passion, Ahlan and Al Rai in Kuwait, the Qatar Tribune, Ohlala Magazine, Bahrain Confidential and Areej Magazines in Bahrain, Business Traveller and City Times in the United Arab Emirates.

“Our goal was to bring a select group of journalists who could experience first hand an Extreme Sailing Series event. Thanks to the support of the Muscat Municipality, they had the chance to see a public facing event with all the activities on Al Hail beach as well as the racing,” commented Caroe.

The six skippers competing in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia
The six skippers competing in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia
Marco Hong/OC Events

Thierry Barot, skipper of China Team was impressed with his first venture into Extreme 40 sailing: “It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategies. I really believe it is the future of sailing. This is what sailing needs in term of development – the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself.”


And as the Asian tour comes to an end, the next begins. The Extreme Sailing Series Europe starts in earnest in May 2010 with the first venues being announced shortly.

Oman Sail Masirah". Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Pete Cumming(GBR),Leigh McMillan(GBR),Mark Bulkeley(GBR),Nasser Al Mashari(OMA) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Event)

Oman Sail Masirah". Shown here racing close to the shore line. Skippered by Pete Cumming(GBR),Leigh McMillan(GBR),Mark Bulkeley(GBR),Nasser Al Mashari(OMA) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Event)

 
Oman Sail Masirah crowned winners of the final event in Muscat and the overall Series.
Oman Sail Masirah crowned winners of the final event in Muscat and the overall Series.
(All Photos by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

First European champions, now Oman Sail Masirah is crowned champion of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia. This event was billed locally as ‘Oman Sail versus The World’ and they came out on top in style. It was a great victory on their home soil and it went to the wire with Masirah winning the final race of the Muscat event to clinch both the regatta title and take the Extreme Sailing Series Asia crown. The Wave, Muscat and China Team completed the podium in 2nd and 3rd also for the regatta and overall.

Fleet racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Fleet racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

This three-event Asian tour has seen many familiar faces from the European tour, such as, double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson, solo round the world skipper Nick Moloney and European Champion Pete Cumming, whilst newcomers Thierry Barot on China Team and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing have gone from a ‘standing start’ to put in an awesome performance, pushing the more seasoned racers all the way.

The Asian circuit kicked off in Hong Kong, then Singapore before ending here in Muscat at a full public event:

Thierry Barot (FRA), China Team skipper
Thierry Barot (FRA), China Team skipper
OC Events

“It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategies. I really believe it is the future of sailing,” said China Team skipper Thierry Barot. “This is what sailing needs in term of development – the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself.”

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team racing on day 3 at Muscat
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team racing on day 3 at Muscat
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

At the start of the fifth and final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event there were a few worried and tense looking sailors on the dockside – the wind was blowing over 20 knots and the anticipation of some tense battles ahead only heightened the stakes. Thierry Barot’s China Team and Paul Campbell-James and the crew on The Wave, Muscat were on equal points at the start of racing with Masirah just one point behind and it was clear this was where the battle for the podium would be taking place.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing who suffered a capsize yesterday were just one point ahead of Nick Moloney’s BT, whilst Shirley Robinson on Rumbo Almeria knew she could play catch up if things went in her favour. The scene was set for an awesome display of Extreme racing.

Omani children enjoy watching the Extreme 40s racing, Muscat.
Omani children enjoy watching the Extreme 40s racing, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

As the local crowds gathered on Al-Hail beach for the final day of the ‘Extreme Beach Party’, racing got underway with two rounds of ‘speed runs’.
The reefed Extreme 40s relished these high-speed conditions courtesy of the 20+ knots of north-westerly wind, and flew down the windward/leeward course flying the hulls in front of the packed VIP platform.

Rumbo Almeria racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Rumbo Almeria racing on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

As the wind dropped to around 10 knots, the huge mainsails were hoisted to the top of the masts, and fleet racing began. The Oman Sail boats led the way – first place for The Wave, Muscat and second for Masirah. China Team finished fourth place behind BT, putting them 6 points behind leaders. Another drama for Red Bull as their mainsail came tumbling down mid-race. They quickly hoisted a man of the mast to sort it out and were back racing in time for the penultimate race.

The pressure was at the max… The skippers jostling for position on the short start line – Paul Campbell-James misjudged the start and was over the line, forcing him to restart as their teammates sailed away to snatch the race. China Team were struggling in the lighter airs, as the Oman boats pulled ahead on the leaderboard. But the double-points final race was coming up…

His Highness Sayyid Shahab bin Tariq Al Said, Advisor to His Majesty, His Excellency Maqbool bin Ali bin Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha bint Abdulameer bin Ali, Minister of Tourism, joined the VIP guests on the platform for the start of the final race.

Oman Sail Masirah crew onboard on the final day at Muscat.
Oman Sail Masirah crew onboard on the final day at Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Only just enough wind remained to propel the boats over the line. Pete Cumming takes up the story: “We’re quite a heavy crew so when the wind went right down, we had a bit on as the guys on The Wave are light and very quick. But they made the cardinal sin of stalling the boat in the start zone, and when it’s really, really light you just have to keep moving as boat speed is key. We saw them stalling the boat and we just sheeted on and got away.” Masirah went into the lead to win the final race and clinch victory here in Muscat. “It’s everything we worked for and hoped for! But you can’t underestimate the guys that turned up for the Asian series at all. We’ve seen the fleet get stronger and stronger and every event and push us harder and harder in every race.”

It was a superb end to a fantastic inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Only in a few months time, the Extreme Sailing Series European circuit will be starting – we can’t wait!

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team rounding the race mark on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team rounding the race mark on the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Extreme Sailing Series Asia : Muscat
1st Oman Sail Masirah, 103 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, 101 points
3rd China Team, 91 points
4th BT, 84 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 71 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, 70 points

Extreme Sailing Series Overall:

Extreme 40s racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Extreme 40s racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events


1st Masirah, 18 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, 11 points
3rd China Team, 11 points
4th BT, 10 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 8 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, 5 points

Red Bull Extreme 40 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Red Bull Extreme 40 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Thousands gathered on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia to see the six teams race in the biggest breeze so far – not only of the Asian series but the entire 2009 European series! With 25 knots of wind that accelerated the boats downwind at speeds of 30km per hour, this was white-knuckle racing for the sailors in fully testing conditions and a capsize for Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team…

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Nose dives, rooster tails, close calls, penalties, breakages, fraught mark roundings… For the sailors it was physical and stressful, for the spectators it was pure entertainment drawing cheers as the six teams threw themselves around the short race track.

Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party�  Event in Muscat
Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party� Event in Muscat
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

For the Omani public the two-day ‘Extreme Beach Party‘ kicked off on Al-Hail beach to the west of the capital city with the Red Bull Street Style competition, five-a-side football tournament and the Arsenal soccer school open for business, alongside ‘try-sailing’ sessions. With local radio Hai FM keeping the crowds they had plenty to entertain them both on and off the water.

Back on the water, boat handling and precision gennaker hoists and drops proved crucial… The six boats raced with a reef and for the first two races without their massive gennakers, but the race committee finally gave the nod for the sails to be used in the remaining races.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Inevitably the pressure piled on and Red Bull Extreme Sailing, still leading overall, got caught out in race 5. Trying to hold on to their huge gennaker for as long as they dare as they approached the final downwind mark, the furl wasn’t slick enough, and the breeze caught in the sail enough to tip them over as they attempted to round the mark for the final sprint to the finish line. Skipper Roman Hagara, was taken to hospital to have stitches put in his hand. Game over, not only for the day’s racing but also as the team had to relinquish their overall lead to Thierry Barot’s China Team, helmed by Hugh Styles, on the penultimate day of the Muscat event – the final round in the Asian Extreme Sailing Series. Hugh: “We had a few little curve balls at the start of the day and we were last in the first race. But we just tried to keep clean and out of trouble, especially coming into the top mark. Tomorrow’s another day and we’re looking forward to doing better.”

The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Oman Sail’s Masirah had the best day on the water today – languishing in 4th place overall after yesterday’s match racing session – Pete Cumming’s team scored the most points to elevate Masirah to 3rd in the overall standings with 70 points, just behind their stablemate The Wave, Muscat now in 2nd place going into the final day of racing tomorrow. Bowman, Khamis Al Anbourri, “Today we had 25 knots – a really amazing day! Earlier in the day we were doing some practice match racing with Shirley and it just got windier so we put a reef in. We didn’t use gennakers in the first two races then we were allowed to use them. It was quite hard work and all the time concentrating to go faster. This is the windiest conditions I’ve raced in – we’ve been waiting for conditions like this in Oman to show the people it’s a really amazing sport, hard work but wonderful.”

Oman Sail Masirah have come to the final Asian event in Muscat holding the series lead and their first performance over the first three days was starting to look worrying but now they are back on form and there is no doubt the team are fully motivated to win on home soil.

BT and Rumbo Almeria may not have had the best day on the water but saved their best performance till the final race scoring a first and a second place.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event which will see the event and overall series trophies claimed. With a similar weather conditions expected tomorrow – the stakes could not be higher!

Thousands gathered on the beach on the first public day of the Muscat event of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia to see the six teams race in the biggest breeze so far – not only of the Asian series but the entire 2009 European series! With 25 knots of wind that accelerated the boats downwind at speeds of 30km per hour, this was white-knuckle racing for the sailors in fully testing conditions and a capsize for Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team…

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Nose dives, rooster tails, close calls, penalties, breakages, fraught mark roundings… For the sailors it was physical and stressful, for the spectators it was pure entertainment drawing cheers as the six teams threw themselves around the short race track.

Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party�  Event in Muscat
Beach Football at the �Extreme Beach Party� Event in Muscat
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

For the Omani public the two-day ‘Extreme Beach Party‘ kicked off on Al-Hail beach to the west of the capital city with the Red Bull Street Style competition, five-a-side football tournament and the Arsenal soccer school open for business, alongside ‘try-sailing’ sessions. With local radio Hai FM keeping the crowds they had plenty to entertain them both on and off the water.

Back on the water, boat handling and precision gennaker hoists and drops proved crucial… The six boats raced with a reef and for the first two races without their massive gennakers, but the race committee finally gave the nod for the sails to be used in the remaining races.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team capsize on Day 4 at Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Inevitably the pressure piled on and Red Bull Extreme Sailing, still leading overall, got caught out in race 5. Trying to hold on to their huge gennaker for as long as they dare as they approached the final downwind mark, the furl wasn’t slick enough, and the breeze caught in the sail enough to tip them over as they attempted to round the mark for the final sprint to the finish line. Skipper Roman Hagara, was taken to hospital to have stitches put in his hand. Game over, not only for the day’s racing but also as the team had to relinquish their overall lead to Thierry Barot’s China Team, helmed by Hugh Styles, on the penultimate day of the Muscat event – the final round in the Asian Extreme Sailing Series. Hugh: “We had a few little curve balls at the start of the day and we were last in the first race. But we just tried to keep clean and out of trouble, especially coming into the top mark. Tomorrow’s another day and we’re looking forward to doing better.”

The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
The Wave, Muscat racing on Day 4, Muscat.
Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events

Oman Sail’s Masirah had the best day on the water today – languishing in 4th place overall after yesterday’s match racing session – Pete Cumming’s team scored the most points to elevate Masirah to 3rd in the overall standings with 70 points, just behind their stablemate The Wave, Muscat now in 2nd place going into the final day of racing tomorrow. Bowman, Khamis Al Anbourri, “Today we had 25 knots – a really amazing day! Earlier in the day we were doing some practice match racing with Shirley and it just got windier so we put a reef in. We didn’t use gennakers in the first two races then we were allowed to use them. It was quite hard work and all the time concentrating to go faster. This is the windiest conditions I’ve raced in – we’ve been waiting for conditions like this in Oman to show the people it’s a really amazing sport, hard work but wonderful.”

Oman Sail Masirah have come to the final Asian event in Muscat holding the series lead and their first performance over the first three days was starting to look worrying but now they are back on form and there is no doubt the team are fully motivated to win on home soil.

BT and Rumbo Almeria may not have had the best day on the water but saved their best performance till the final race scoring a first and a second place.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event which will see the event and overall series trophies claimed. With a similar weather conditions expected tomorrow – the stakes could not be higher!

Extreme Sailing Series Asia (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series Asia (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.OC Events)

Some said it couldn’t be done on more than one hull, but the six Extreme 40s here at The Wave, Muscat for the Extreme Sailing Series Asia demonstrated that match racing in multihulls is not only viable, but spectacular. The crowded VIP viewing platform was given a thrilling demonstration of close quarter combat as the teams took it in turns to race head-to-head, just metres off the harbour wall.
 
The promised 12-15 knot wind came through at midday and the Race Committee set up a tight, 500metre course. Seven flights, two matches a flight, and the teams were preparing for a long day.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing took on China Team in the first match and the America’s Cup experienced duo of Thierry Barot and Tan Wearn Haw was evident as they dominated the pre-start manoeuvres, often slowing the racing down as they prepared to round the marks. But on the last beat, Red Bull overturned the match, taking the lead and the first point. The games had begun …

China Team and Red Bull Extreme Sailing in action on day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

China Team and Red Bull Extreme Sailing in action on day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

The third match of the day was an Omani head-to-head with The Wave, Muscat hoping to capitalise on skipper Paul Campbell-James’ student Match Racing experience, up against their stablemate Masirah. The boats were aggressive in the pre-start, with both sides calling for penalties, but green flagged by the Umpires and a fantastic start for Masirah, hitting the line at full pace. But disaster struck for The Wave, Muscat. As they flew a hull, almost over the mark, their clew failed, leaving their mainsail flapping in the wind. It was all over for Campbell-James and his team limped back to dock to repair the damage before tomorrow’s penultimate day..

And so it continued. The action behind the start line was tight as the teams used their match racing experience to block each other out at the committee boat end, the action unfurling almost at the feet of the spectators. This simplified form of match racing was easy to understand for the non-sailors in the crowd and the more knowledgeable sailors were all commenting on how fast the teams were putting the Extreme 40s through their manoeuvres. Mistakes were punished hard by the opposing team as they all chased the win and the point for first over the line.
 

Masirah powers down the matchracing course during day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat. (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Masirah powers down the matchracing course during day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat. (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Masirah’s strong boat handling skills were evident in the stronger winds as they barely put a foot wrong around the courses finishing top boat after the first round robin:

Wins/Losses
Masirah 5/0
Rumbo Almería 4/1
Red Bull Extreme Sailing 3/2
BT 2/3
China Team 1/4
The Wave, Muscat 0/5

This left The Wave, Muscat on the dock and China Team in fifth place with Red Bull and BT to battle it out for third place and Masirah and Rumbo Almería for the overall top spot.
 

China Team skipper Thierry Barot commented, “Hard day, but good learning day. It is the first time we have done match racing together, Wearn Haw and I have before for the America’s Cup, but not with Hugh [Styles] and Adam [Piggott]. Most of the starts we had were quite good, only lost one against Rumbo Almeria, but they had a great day.

Thierry Barot, trimmer and skipper on China Team is put through his paces matchracing on day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Thierry Barot, trimmer and skipper on China Team is put through his paces matchracing on day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia at The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

“It’s been very interesting to do match racing in these boats. It was a very tough day for me, but great fun. I hope we do it more. I was a little bit worried about our experience but you find a lot of similar situations with the monohulls and multihulls and the solution is the same. For a first experience it was great and looking forward to doing more.”

And so the ‘petit final’ began. BT up against Red Bull Extreme Sailing. The racing was tight and Red Bull was in control from the start, but a forced error at the final top mark saw the Austrian team struggle with unfurling their gennaker with only one third of the sail out.. BT saw their opening and took it. Nick Moloney said, “We saw their gennaker and we started screaming at each other, come on come on and went hard as, and really aggressively fired each other up. ‘Come on boys!’ we were shouting. And then everyone lifts. We are amped anyway because it is so high energy but takes you to a higher level.” BT stormed down the final leg to take the win from the jaws of defeat and finished in third overall.

bt-matchracing-by-mark-lloyd

BT Matchracing Day 3 (Photo By Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

 
And the final beckoned for Oman Sail Masirah against double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson’s Rumbo Almeria. Shirley, an experienced match racer, dominated from the start, at one point sailing backwards to get out of the Omani team’s clutches. She led over the line and kept in front all the way round, giving no room for overtaking and comfortably winning the match, and the day.

“We had a bit of a think about it before we went out. How were we going to gain an advantage and gain the opportunities and the pitfalls. The breeze was up, the boats are pretty difficult in that amount of wind, we were a bit nervous, but we approached the day fresh and approached each match fresh and as the tournament went on we got better and better.

“I’m the only girl out there but I have done quite a lot of match racing before and as have some of the other guys on the other teams. You need a fair amount of aggression but also you have to be able to manoeuvre your boat into position and that takes a bit of team work It was great coming into the final, we felt pretty confident and we came out on top – it was a great moment.”
 
And so the Extreme 40s proved it could be done, in spectacular style and easily understood by the spectators. Nick Moloney summed up the day for everyone, “It was really good. Beautiful wind obviously made for awesome sailing. Muscat turned it on for the weather, what more would you want? Perfect hull flying conditions, flat water and beautiful blue skies. Everyone is really tired, but stoked. It’s good to come off the water tired, you know you have done something worthwhile.”

Results after day 3 of racing:

Red Bull Extreme Sailing – 50
The Wave, Muscat – 42
BT – 38
China Team – 38
Masirah – 36
Rumbo Almeria – 27

Sailor quotes:

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara, Red Bull Extreme Sailing: It was good to do this with the Extreme 40s and we had some tight races which was nice. I think it is a good format. It was thrilling onboard. The boats are so quick and you have to be careful not hit the other boat or the rocks. We were so close to shore at time and the spectators.

“We had another good furl at the gate and then it came undone on the downwind leg and that’s it. Not a big problem we will learn. Tomorrow we feel comfortable crew work is perfect now, not always, but getting better and better so we feel good.”

Ian Walker, double Olympic silver medallist, Rumbo Almeria: “It was very interesting today. Having skippered and been a tactician in the America’s Cup, I was interested to see how it would work in catamarans, particularly with the America’s Cup being in multihulls this time. I actually think it can work. We don’t get that many passing manoeuvres anyway in the slower, heavier boats and what we saw today was a real premium boat handling. But the most important thing is setting the course so the boats can split at the leeward mark. If it was a one way track, it wouldn’t work. But today it was an excellent course and there was a lot of over taking, from what we saw today in these conditions and these boats, I think thumbs up.

Leigh McMillan, helm on Oman Sail Masirah: “It was obviously going to be full on with a bit of wind so got to actually get the boats moving a bit which was a lot of fun and quite a tight racecourse. The short racing area meant that the manoeuvres were full on, you never had a moment in the race to settle down. But it was good fun to engage with the other boats. It wasn’t like two boat fleet racing, the pre-start dial ups in these boats were a lot of fun and a lot of pin outs at the Committee boats and that is what is exciting about match racing and we did it in the Extreme 40. We enjoyed it and had a good day. We won all of the round robin races and then we only had one final, so obviously lost that, unfortunately, but again, we had a great day and it was a lot of fun.”

Light Airs For Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Light Airs For Extreme Sailing Series Asia Fleet (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

 

The opening day of racing at The Wave, Muscat required a touch of finesse by the sailors onboard the six Extreme 40s taking part in the final round of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia as they battled with light winds all afternoon.

Renowned light-air specialists Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing, finished the first day as top boat – with a lead of seven points over China Team – who are keeping a tight hold on their current overall 2nd placed position – and The Wave, Muscat.

Roman Hagara, Skipper Of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Leader After Day 1 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Roman Hagara, Skipper Of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Leader After Day 1 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Double Olympic Gold Medallist, Roman Hagara (AUT) was pleased with his team’s performance on the opening day. “A good beginning. The difference today was we had really good starts, and once you are in the front with these courses in the light wind it is easy to stay in the front.” His tactician, Hans Peter Steinacher, agreed, “After a week of training we’ve had here in Oman it feels good on the boat. We have more time to look for the wind as our manoeuvres become more natural. It gets better and better. The secret in these light airs? Go as fast a possible over the line, it doesn’t matter in which position – that’s the clue!”

With the wind reaching a maximum of 9 knots, it was a slow afternoon for the Extreme 40s, requiring more brain than brawn to get round the four courses. With the tougher ‘reaching’ starts, when the wind hits the start line from the side, rather than the more usual head on or from behind, some of the teams struggled to adjust and found themselves blocked and unable to get over the line cleanly. Current overall leaders of the Asian circuit, Oman Sail’s Masirah, was one such team as skipper Pete Cumming explained. “It was tricky today, definitely not the 10-15 knots I predicted the fleet would get yeterday. The wind just died away and it was really hard racing. The sea was quite sloppy as we had a good wind this morning and the courses were tough so the fleet got spread out and there aren’t many over-taking lanes.

“We couldn’t get off the start line cleanly today, a lot of reaching starts and we should be better at them. We’ve done enough of them in training so it shouldn’t be an excuse. Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll be looking for less sixth places and more firsts!”

Picture The Wave Muscat Skippered by Paul Campbell-James(GBR) leading Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara(AUT) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Picture The Wave Muscat Skippered by Paul Campbell-James(GBR) leading Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara(AUT) (Photo by Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC Events)

Watching the racing at The Wave, Muscat, was a delegation of statesmen from the Omani and Singaporean governments, to see the naming of The Jewel of Muscat, a traditionally built sailing vessel, using techniques and skills over 2,000 years old. It was an extraordinary sight as The Jewel of Muscat sailed through the fleet of state-of-the art Extreme 40s. Pete Cumming, skipper of Masirah commented, “There was 2,000 years of sailing history out there today. For the Oman Sail project we had every extreme – every arm of the project designed to reignite the Sultanate’s sailing heritage. There was the Jewel of Muscat, the historical part, and then you have the 2010 version of the Jewel of Muscat with the Extreme 40!”

Red Bull Extreme Sailing’s two firsts and two seconds put them in first place, seven points ahead of China Team and The Wave, Muscat. “It was a little frustrating as we didn’t start well today and our position at the finish didn’t always relate to our position at the start,” commented The Wave, Muscat Skipper Paul Campbell-James. “We’ll be looking for a bit of a better day with our starts tomorrow and I think we will be pushing Red Bull Extreme Sailing for the lead. They had a great day today.”

Hugh Styles, the helmsmen onboard China Team also found the going hard. “It was tough today. Everything was about being clean off the line and we did a pretty good job in the firt two races and we are pleased with how we were sailing the boat today. We only had yesterday’s day of practice so it has come together pretty nicely.

extreme-sailing-asia-day-1

Extreme Sailing Asia Day 1 (Photo by Mark Lloyd/LLoyd Images/OC Events)

“It’s such a unique location here sailing in the mouth of a harbour and having all the dignatries watching it does give a bit of added pressure to it. You aren’t just sailing in front of a crowd of, you are sailing in front of government officials – you have to perform well!”

The second day of racing will begin at 2pm tomorrow, Tuesday 2 February.

Results after day 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia:

Red Bull Extreme Sailing – 22 points
CHINA TEAM – 15 points
The Wave, Muscat – 15 points
Rumbo Almeria – 12 points
Masirah – 11 points
BT – 9 points