ROFF Cascais Sailing Team training on their home waters.

– Act 5 Porto starts tomorrow – follow online on the official http://www.extremesailingseries.com/website and watch the live video stream from 1700-1800 BST (GMT + 1) / 1800-1900 CEST daily from the 26 – 28 July.

– Pierre Pennec returns to Extreme Sailing Series™ at the helm of the Swiss-flagged Realteam.
– Win Extreme Sailing Series™ kit from official clothing partners Marinepool! Click here for more info.
– Watch the preview video here.

With less then 24 hours before the start of Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Porto, the teams have spent today making final preparations to their Extreme 40s in the technical area at Douro Marina and putting in some last minute training time on the water before proceedings get underway tomorrow (Thursday 25th July). There is plenty of anticipation and excitement dockside with official Extreme Sailing Series weather partners WetterWelt predicting 8-12 knots of breeze with gusts up to 15 knots for the first two days racing.

How to follow the Extreme Sailing Series, Act 5, Porto ONLINE

Racing takes place over four days from the 25-28 July kicking off with a day of open water racing and the official skippers press conference before moving into stadium mode where the Douro River will provide the playground for the eight Extreme 40s from the 26-28 July.

The Extreme Sailing Series website homepage will go into race mode on day one and will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for live video, results and news as well as an interactive live blog where fans can leave their comments.

From the 26 July, the ‘Stadium Racing’ will be streamed live to the website with expert commentary from sailing expert and Olympic commentator Richard Simmonds and analytics from technical partner SAP. This streaming is also available on all iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) from 1700-1800 BST (GMT + 1), 26-28 July.

Winner's of the Act in 2012, The Wave, Muscat out in training in Porto, Portugal

How to follow the Extreme Sailing Series, Act 5, Porto ONSITE

The free to enter public Race Village is located on Porto’s Douro Riverbank near the iconic Dom Luís I iron bridge designed by one of Eiffel’s partners, Téophile Seyrig, where the Extreme 40 fleet will race close to shore on the public days, providing the perfect viewing platform for ‘Stadium Racing’.

The public Race Village will provide a host of entertainment throughout the day including music, public bar and food stalls, a resident DJ, live commentary in English and Portuguese throughout the racing, a Range Rover Sport TDV6 HSE car display as well as a zone dedicated to children. The on-water entertainment will be complemented by the main warm up act, the NeilPryde Windsurf Racing Series.

 

The new addition Pierre Pennec tests the Portuguese waters in training onboard Realteam.

For the full event schedule visit the dedicated Porto page on the official website, here.

Pierre Pennec returns at the helm of the Swiss-flagged Realteam

Pierre Pennec, one of the most experienced Extreme 40 sailors having finished the Series in second and third in 2011 and 2012 respectively with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, is to join Realteam for Act 5, Porto as helmsman for this event.

Pennec, who is looking forward to taking up the challenge alongside the Swiss entry commented, “I have often come across the team onboard the Décision 35 and they seem very well structured, I am impressed with their level of performance and focus. I thought that with my Extreme 40 experience, I might be able to bring something to the team and things have progressed naturally from there. Jérome got in touch a while ago about coaching and sailing and I am delighted to be joining the team for Act 5 which is shaping up to be a tough competition!” Read more online here.

Win Marinepool Kit!
Extreme Sailing Series is  giving away some exclusive Extreme Sailing Series team kit from official clothing partners Marinepool – perfect for a day on or off the water! They have one summer bundle for men and one for women up for grabs.

 Click here for more details and to enter.

 

Extreme Sailing Series Rankings to date

OVERALL

(Results updated after each race)

RANK TEAM
1 Alinghi 27
2 The Wave Muscat 26
3 Red Bull Sailing Team 24
4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team 20
5 Team Korea 16
6 GAC Pindar 16
7 Realteam 14
8 Team X Invitational 13

.

Alinghi are out to defend their Series lead on the Portuguese waters in Porto.

PRADA Luna Rossa (Photo by ACEA 2013/ Gilles Martin-Raget)

Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic Gold medalists in the Tornado catamaran, have entered the upcoming America’s Cup World Series Naples, scheduled Apr. 16-21.

The duo will sail under the banner HS Racing and race under the US flag in partnership with ORACLE TEAM USA.

HS Racing is one of nine crews entered in the regatta, which will also feature America’s Cup World Series leader ORACLE TEAM USA, second-placed Luna Rossa Piranha, third-placed Artemis Racing White, J.P. Morgan BAR, Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Swordfish and China Team.

Roman Hagara (Photo © Red Bull Content Pool)

“It is a dream come true for us,” said Hagara, 46, whose aim, along with tactician Steinacher and their crew is a top placing at the final event of the 2012-13 AC World Series season.

HS Racing’s crew also includes trimmer Herve Cunningham of France, bowman Graeme Spence of Australia and floater David Swete of New Zealand.

“We trained on the AC45 back in February in San Francisco and felt very good from the start,” said Steinacher, 44. “The boat is extremely difficult to handle at strong winds and it develops unbelievable forces, but we are happy to take on the challenge.”

Hagara and Steinacher were Gold medalists at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics. They are also the sports directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4 in San Francisco.

“It’s great to have Roman and Hans-Peter involved,” said ORACLE TEAM USA CEO Russell Coutts. “They aim to be serious competitors and this is a great platform to launch their America’s Cup aspirations.”

Emirates Team New Zealand© ACEA 2013/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Familiar names are lining up for the final AC World Series event, with sailors such as Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand, Francesco Bruni and Chris Draper of Luna Rossa, Yann Guichard of Energy Team and Tom Slingsby of ORACLE TEAM USA scheduled to compete. Sweden’s Artemis Racing will be helmed by 23-year-old Charlie Ekberg, Sweden’s top 49er sailor and skipper of Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The Naples event will also feature the return of Mitch Booth to the helm of China Team, while Ben Ainslie will skipper his J.P. Morgan BAR team.

Team Korea, previously an America’s Cup World Series participant and Louis Vuitton Cup entrant, has withdrawn from further competition in the 34th America’s Cup. In a letter to the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the team indicated it has plans to enter the 35th America’s Cup.

Last year’s AC World Series Naples drew crowds estimated at 500,000, who were there in part to catch the debut of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. Draper led his Luna Rossa Piranha crew to a thrilling win in the final fleet race. The victory kicked off celebrations among the tens of thousands of Italian America’s Cup fans lining the Naples waterfront to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

The conditions were as varied as any venue on the AC World Series. The fleet race finale was held in light wind and turned into a drifter at the finish. That occurred just two days after big wind and waves saw the AC45s powered up and leaping from the wave tops.

- Naples (ITA) - 34th America's Cup - America's Cup World Series Naples 2012 - Final day (Photo © ACEA 2013/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget)

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 )

Artemis Racing in race mode (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Artemis Racing in race mode (Photo by Lloyd Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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