Paul Campbell-James and Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James and The Wave, Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James on The Wave, Muscat has won the UK Round of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week – the first ever regatta win for the youngest skipper on the circuit – claiming an OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean watch as part of the prize as top Skipper for the UK round.  Thirty-six races over six days in front of 60,000+ spectators – the UK round of the five-stop circuit has delivered everything that the Extreme Sailing Series is about. Spectacular, adrenalin-pumping action on the water, enthralling the thousands of spectators who packed into the Extreme Race Village at Egypt Point and along The Esplanade.

The conditions throughout the event have demanded the utmost focus and physical effort from the nine competing teams and today was no exception with 20-25 knots of south-westerly breeze across the short race course and a choppy sea state.  Classic conditions for a potential pitch-pole or capsize and the crews knew it, racing with one reef in the mainsail and an extra fifth pro crew to add a bit of extra weight. The top mark proved a dangerous turning mark as they hoisted their giant gennakers to head downwind at full pelt – the crews ready in a second to ease the sails if the bows dug into the waves too deep.

Going into the fifth and final double points race of the day, Paul Campbell-James and his crew had almost done enough to keep the lead from Britain’s Mike Golding, but they had to finish the race – zero points and Ecover would claim the top spot. As it was the team did enough, scoring a 4th in the final race, to win the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series on 249 points: “We knew if we capsized it would be the end of the regatta so pretty pleased to get through it,” said a relieved Campbell-James on the podium. 

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

But the Ecover team is ecstatic with their second overall place, their best result to date and appreciated the home crowd support: “It’s been great to have the support from the shore – you can even hear the yells and shouts from on board the boat,” said Golding. Tornado Olympic sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden have bought a new performance level to Mike’s team, who stepped back to allow the McMillan take the helm. It was a shrewd move and Golding’s team are really starting to gel, and will certainly be a force to contend with in the future.  Yann Guichard’s men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, winners at the first round in France, always excel in light airs but struggle at times in heavy conditions. A final win in the last race would have lifted their spirits to secure third overall on the podium.

A real battle developed mid-leaderboard between Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah, Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Groupama 40. Only a handful of points separated these three going into the final race. Peyron secured fourth overall, although he never really got into his stride here, and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing claimed 5th and although lacked consistency they, nonetheless, scored six bullets, ahead of the fastest man round the planet Franck Cammas on Groupama 40.  Groupama 40 provided the most dramatic moment of the UK round on the second day when the 40-foot catamaran careered towards the concrete sea wall without steerage. Franck and the crew had no option but to leap to safety.

Team GAC Pindar, who had the satisfaction of claiming some race wins here, proving that when they get it right they are competitive, finished in 7th place ahead of Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who is competing in the UK round as a one-off experience (for now!).  For the co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, Mitch Booth and the Team Ocean Racing Club, it proved to be a disastrous regatta, breaking their front beam ahead of the penultimate day and then having to sit and watch the other eight boats have some of the best racing this circuit has ever seen.

The Wave, Muscat’s victory here means they now share the top spot on the overall Series leaderboard with 14 points apiece.  Two points behind Oman Sail Masirah on 12 points.

Next stop for the Extreme Sailing Series is Kiel in Germany between 26-29 August.

The Nigel Irens Design Majan, Skippered by Paul Stanbridge Under Sail (Photo by)

The Nigel Irens Design Majan, Skippered by Paul Stanbridge Under Sail (Photo by Lloyd Images)

After four months of assembly in Oman’s southern most port of Salalah, skipper Paul Standbridge has been stretching the legs of Oman Sail’s new Arabian 100 (A100) trimaran during sea-trials off the Omani coast. Now named Majan, after the ancient name for Oman, Oman Sail’s new flagship is now operational and is heading into the Gulf and a tour of neighbouring countries.

Based on the proven design of another trimaran, Sodebo, which is the holder of the solo North Atlantic crossing record, the design has been tailored for the needs of Oman Sail and their objective of training and developing Omani sailors to compete on the international stage.

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Oman Sail's 100 Foot Arabian Trimaran Majan (Photo byh Lloyd Images/Oman Sail)

The launch of Majan is an ambitious addition to the project’s mission to inspire a new generation of young Omanis. The first chapter was started when Mohsin Al Busaidi returned to the shores of Oman after successfully circumnavigating the world non-stop on Majan’s 75ft sister ship, Musandam. From there, success has followed success as the two Oman teams took 1st and 3rd in the 2009 European iShares Cup and two Omanis are currently also sailing around the world in the Clipper Race. At the heart of all this success lies the Oman Sail Academy where young Omanis are now taking part in try sailing courses and looking to emulate their peers. Oman Sail’s aims are ambitious: by 2015, the project aims to have seven academies running across the country enabling over 30,000 Omanis to try sailing.
Majan will sail with a crew of seven: 50% of the sailors will be Omani offshore trainees joined by three international professional crew and a cameraman providing the one-on-one training that the recruits require at this early stage of their career.  The first chapter will be a ‘Tour of Arabia’ starting next week from Muscat, which will include stops in UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar before Majan joins the Dubai-Muscat race back to Muscat one month later.

Majan In The Slings Being Launched (Photo by Lloyd Images/Oman Sail)

Majan In The Slings Being Launched (Photo by Lloyd Images/Oman Sail)

The name Majan is used with pride within Oman and is a fitting name for a futuristic racing yacht for a country with a long maritime history. As Majan’s newest crew member, Mohsin Al Busaidi, commented “The acceleration of Majan is incredible: we moved from 20 – 30 knots in one gust of wind. We now look forward to showing the world what she can do!”

Majan Loaded On Truck For Launch (Photo by Lloyd Images/Oman Sail)

Majan Loaded On Truck For Launch (Photo by Lloyd Images/Oman Sail)