Lloyd ImagesDescription:Oman Air - Musandam MOD70. The Oman Air MOD70. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Thomas LeBreton (FRA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Neal McDonald (GBR),Damian Foxall (IRL), Ahmed Al Hassani (OMA) and Giles Favennec (FRA)

Lloyd ImagesDescription:Oman Air – Musandam MOD70. The Oman Air MOD70. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Thomas LeBreton (FRA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Neal McDonald (GBR),Damian Foxall (IRL), Ahmed Al Hassani (OMA) and Giles Favennec (FRA)

Oman Sail skipper Sidney Gavignet and a mixed Omani and European 12-man squad will make a bid on both the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland and the Tour de France a la Voile titles in 2014 as part of an intensive summer’s racing in Europe on the MOD70 flagship, supported by the Ministry of Tourism of Oman, and the M34 to continue developing an Omani sailing squad.

Fresh from a win in the popular EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour, Gavignet is turning his attention to training and racing around France and Britain, taking part in a total of eight different events between April and August and rotating members of Oman Sail’s 12-strong squad to build further on skills and performances.

Copyright:Lloyd ImagesDescription:Route des Princes. Valencia. Spain The Oman Air MOD70 - Musandam skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA)

Copyright:Lloyd ImagesDescription:Route des Princes. Valencia. Spain The Oman Air MOD70 – Musandam skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA)

The squad will comprise some of Oman’s best-known offshore sailors including Nasser Al Mashari (who just won the Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 with the team on The Wave, Muscat), Ali Al Balushi who returns for another Tour de France a la Voile, Mohammed Mubarak Al Makrini, Mohammed Al Mujaini and Fahad Al Hasni who is a regular on the MOD70.

The Omanis will be joined by a mix of Irish and French sailors who once again are familiar faces in Oman Sail teams; they feature Cedric Pouligny, Oman Sail’s skipper in three previous Tour de France a la Voile campaigns, Shane Hugues, Alex Pallu, Guillaume Berenger, Gilles Favennec, Damien lehl and well-known Irish sailor, Damian Foxall who most recently raced under Omani colours during the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre with Sidney.

Gavignet already has a Tour de France a la Voile trophy in his cabinet. He won it in 1996 as part of the Edouard Leclerc – Région SCASO crew. He came second the year before on Brut de Faberge and last competed in 1998 when he came fifth on Le Pradet/DCN.

“I would hope we can get a podium place in the Tour,” he said, breaking off from M34 training in France. “If we can get on the podium, it would be a great result for Oman Sail. We are aiming to build an elite squad made up of Omani and European sailors and as a team, we hope to improve on previous results.”

Description:The Oman Sail M34 training in France prior to the 2013 season starting picture shows Jean-Marie Liot / Lloyd Images

Description:The Oman Sail M34 training in France prior to the 2013 season starting picture shows Jean-Marie Liot / Lloyd Images

Results from the M34 contests at Spi Ouest France, Grand Prix Guyader in May, Normandy Sailing Week then Tour de France a Voile will serve as both development and performance benchmarks for the team.

The MOD70 programme, starting with work up events, Grand Prix Guyader and Armen race in France in May, also includes corporate sailing at Kiel Week, the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week and culminates in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race that starts just over a week after the end of the Tour de France a la Voile, in August.

“Even if there isn’t the kind of MOD70 racing we have had in previous years, sailing this multihull is still a challenge,” said Gavignet. “Being able to sail a very fast boat well is a very useful development experience for our Omani sailors. The best possible scenario this summer would be to win the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race on corrected time and to gain a place on the podium in the Tour de France a la Voile. That would be perfect.

“The MOD70 is very different from the M34 so by the end of the summer, we should see some real improvements in the squad,” he said.

In addition to its MOD70 and M34 campaigns, Oman Sail will continue to develop its fledgling Women’s Sailing Programme with a girls team on the J80 European circuit between April and July. The girls squad will include regulars Ibtisam Al Salmi, Raiya Al Habsi and Raja Al Owaisi who will be joined by Nashwa Al Kindi one of the Oman Sail female instructors who most recently completed a trans ocean crossing with Hilary Lister, and British Olympic sailor Mary Rook. For Spi Ouest, an all-Omani male crew will race alongside the girls on a J80; the team will include Fahad Al Hasni, Nasser Al Mashari, Ali Al Balushi and Sami Al Shukily.

by gahinet

by gahinet

Oman Sail Elite Sailing Squad Summer Programme 2014

MOD70 programme

  • 2-5 May: Grand Prix Guyader, Douarnenez, France
  • 30 May-1 June: Armen Race, La Trinite sur Mer, France
  • 21-29 June: Kiel Week, Germany
  • 2-9 August: Artemis Challenge, Cowes Week, UK
  • 10-14 August: Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race

M34 programme

  • 17-21 April: Spi Ouest, France
  • 8-11 May: Grand Prix Guyader, Douarnenez, France
  • 9-15 June: Normandy Sailing Week, France
  • 4-28 July: Tour de France a la Voile

J80 programme

  • 17-21 April: Spi Ouest, France
  • 28-31 May: Grand Prix Ecole Navale, France
  • 9-15 June: Normandy Sailing Week, France
  • 27 June-4 July: J80 European Championships, Spain (TBC)

 


Jean-Marie Liot / Lloyd ImagesDescription:The Oman Sail M34 training in France prior to the 2013 season starting picture shows Mohamed Al Makhrini(OMA) bowman Jean-Marie Liot / Lloyd Images

Jean-Marie Liot / Lloyd ImagesDescription:The Oman Sail M34 training in France prior to the 2013 season starting picture shows Mohamed Al Makhrini(OMA) bowman Jean-Marie Liot / Lloyd Images

Groupama Extreme 40 Photo by Lloyd Images

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Biggest gust of the day sees Team Aberdeen Singapore plough into the back of Groupama sailing team !
Alinghi dominates the racing in a way rarely seen on this event, but The Wave, Muscat win half the days races, chasing them hard in second.
Groupama expecting to be back on the racetrack tomorrow – update on Team Aberdeen Singapore to follow in the next two hours.

The penultimate days racing in Singapore delivered possibly one of the most dramatic moments in the eight-year history of Extreme Sailing Series™. In winds that were varying from 5 to 23 knots across the racecourse, Team Aberdeen Singapore caught one of the biggest gusts of the day as they came into the finish line struggling to hold off the pace and ploughing into the back of France’s Groupama sailing team. The Extreme 40 pitlane, built on part of Singapore’s F1 track, is busy tonight with Groupama fully expecting to be back on the racetrack with a new mast. However, the damage assessment is not yet complete on Team Aberdeen Singapore. A full update will be available within the next two hours.

Groupama sailing team skipper, Franck Cammas, explained what happened: “We had big gusts and as we were finishing a gybe we saw Aberdeen come really fast from behind and that’s the moment when they came over us breaking the mast. Besides the broken mast the damage is not too serious and it is mainly on the mast, the mainsail, the jib and a hole on the trampoline so I think we will be able to race tomorrow with another mast. Tanguy Cariou is the only crew member hurt but it’s only superficial injuries. He was in the middle of the trampoline where the boat fell, which was the worst spot. Three crew members jumped off the boat. It’s the risk of racing. What is tricky here is that the wind is quite strong and very gusty which is difficult to anticipate. It’s not easy.”

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Six races were sailed that saw Leigh McMillan’s team The Wave, Muscat up their game, winning 50% of the days races, and locking their sights on current event leaders, Alinghi.  “Everything is going so fast, as you can see from the shore with the few clashes out there, and it’s all about improving communication,” commented McMillan. “The dynamics on the boat every race, every day, is coming together very nicely. It’s a great performance and we’re happy that we’re putting in good results. We’re fighting for podium spot, which is exactly where we want to be. We want to keep doing the same thing, finding how to work as a team. Overall great performance from everyone today and we’ll keep going to get that spot.”

Alinghi will lead the fleet going into the final day, having sat in pole position since race nine, but despite a 31-point cushion at the top of the leaderboard, helm Morgan Larson is all to aware how quickly things can change on the Stadium Racecourse. “We’re never fully confident with sailors of this calibre! But we’re happy with the way we’re sailing right now. It was a magical day. We put ourselves in a few risky situations and nearly collided with Emirates Team New Zealand but the guys did an amazing job on our boat and let the sails out to try and keep behind, flying our hull right over. That is the kind of teamwork that has gotten us where we are and we hope that tomorrow we can keep sailing this way and stay out of trouble.”

Team Aberdeen Singapore are currently assessing the damage, and a full update as to whether they will be back on the racetrack tomorrow will be available at approximately 2200 local time in Singapore.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 3, 21 races (22.02.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 163 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 132 points.
3rd Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sebastien Stephant 130 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 117 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 117 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 104 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 103 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 95 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 49 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 47 points.

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (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)

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 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 )