• The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat.  Credit - Lloyd Images

    The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

– Four teams – The, Wave, Muscat, Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi and SAP Extreme Sailing Team – in the running heading into the final race, with no room for error and just four points between them – and 20 points on the table for the taking.
– Emirates Team New Zealand snatch second from the grasp of Alinghi with just one point in it after 29 races this week.
– SAP Extreme Sailing Team narrowly denied the podium but rise up the overall Series rankings with an impressive fourth place.
– Replay today’s Stadium Racing, here.

The final day saw plenty of hard fought, close battles on the water for the 11 boat fleet. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

The final day saw plenty of hard fought, close battles on the water for the 11 boat fleet. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

It was a sweltering hot day in Muscat, Oman, for the final showdown at the Extreme Sailing Series™, where the Arabian peninsula saved the best for last, with winds that blasted across the course at a steady 20 knots, with gusts of 26, before a final race shoot out. Four teams were gunning for the top spot and there was no room for error, with just four points between them – and 20 points on the table for the taking. The defending champions and home team on The Wave, Muscat made a real statement of intent from the gun, with an aggressive start that saw them lead the fleet of the line, and Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler and Nasser Al Mashari didn’t look back, snatching the win from the hands of the Kiwi, Swiss and Danish teams, to claim not only the Act win, but putting them top of the overall Series leaderboard after two Acts. “It was too close for comfort, that’s for sure,“ commented an elated McMillan after racing. “Today we had a fight on our hands, we knew we had to be exceptional and raise our game. I was just enjoying the sailing, the challenge of it, the situations that were tight and it all worked out for us. The wind came in and it was absolutely amazing sailing out there, absolutely perfect for the Extreme 40s.”

Gazprom Team Russia -The Russian boat meant business today, pushing their Extreme 40 hard and upgrading their position on the leaderboard. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

Gazprom Team Russia -The Russian boat meant business today, pushing their Extreme 40 hard and upgrading their position on the leaderboard. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

Today’s racing was all about brute power and strength, requiring a huge shift in mindset for the teams, who have raced in light breeze all week. The fleet of 11 Extreme 40s and their 55 elite level crew members powered off the start line, blasting to the windward mark and wrestling their boats around the course, before unfurling their gennakers and flying downwind, trying to maximize power and speed. One team who had the formula nailed were Emirates Team New Zealand, with two race wins and a third place in the final race enough for them to claim second overall, bettering their fourth place finish from Act 1, Singapore, which for skipper Dean Barker, was the objective this week. “We wanted to improve after Singapore, we wanted to sail well and get on the podium here, and we’ve achieved it. There’s still a lot we can improve on but in saying that everyone struggles with the conditions and the guys remained very positive throughout even when things didn’t feel like they were going our way. We had a good chance to get onto the podium, and to get a second place we’re really happy.”

Overnight leaders Alinghi came out of the blocks with a win in the first race of the day, but couldn’t replicate the performance, and a fourth place in the last race left the Swiss settling for third, one point behind the Kiwis. “We should be pleased with the result in such a tough field but we were quite disappointed with how we sailed today. We need to do a better job staying out of the fray and we didn’t achieve that today and The Wave, Muscat did and you’ve got to hand it to them, they earned the win. It’s a long season ahead and if we can keep on the podium this year we’ll have a shot at the title at the end of the year, this will be our objective,” commented the team’s helmsman Morgan Larson.

SAP Extreme Sailing Team SAP Extreme Sailing Team grunt up as they muscle their Extreme 40 around the track. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

SAP Extreme Sailing Team
SAP Extreme Sailing Team grunt up as they muscle their Extreme 40 around the track. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

The Danish match racing experts on SAP Extreme Sailing Team came heartbreakingly close to a podium position, leading the pack for most of the day, but found themselves stuck in the tussle mid-fleet in the final race, and unable to make a clean break, with a sixth place in the final race putting them in fourth position overall. The team however, have showed a marked improvement from Act 1 in Singapore, where they finished tenth, and co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen was quick to talk about the learnings from the Act: “Of course we’re a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium, we sailed a great regatta which literally came right down to the last race. In the hindsight I think we sailed well, which is what we will take away from this. It was a difficult day today with good breeze but it was a bit up and down for us. We were a little unlucky at times but overall we sailed pretty well. I think we have a great team, a good boat and the pace to match the best teams in the Extreme Sailing Series.”

The Russian skipper on Gazprom Team Russia Igor Lisovenko seemed to have a point to prove today, and the team, helmed by two-times Series winner Paul Campbell-James, were moving through the gears, and up the leaderboard, with a string of consistent results elevating them to fifth place overall – topping their eighth place from Act 1, Singapore. Campbell-James commented: “We got another bullet today, and we almost won the last one but Leigh (McMillan) just managed to sneak around us on the second leg. Today was the best day of racing this year with a good bit of breeze, it got really exciting there in the middle where the leaderboard was constantly changing and it was just really fun.”

Realteam finish the event in sixth place, five points behind the Russians, leaving them a solid fourth place on the overall Series leaderboard, with Red Bull Sailing Team in seventh on 145 points, one point ahead of Groupama sailing team. Heading into the final day, J.P. Morgan BAR were within touching distance of the podium but the Brits struggled under the building breeze, before a hydraulics failure in the penultimate race forced them to retire for the day, dashing their podium dreams. Oman Air and GAC Pindar struggled for consistency in the testing Omani conditions, but both showed moments of brilliance, posting a handful of results in the top half of the fleet over the course of the four-day event.

Muscat has delivered some incredibly hard fought racing over 29 races, and the fleet with have just under six weeks to regroup, debrief and prepare themselves for Act 3 of the 2014 global tour in Qingdao, China, presented by Land Rover, one of the most notoriously tricky racecourses on the circuit, 1-4 May.

Red Bull Sailing Team<br />Red Bull Sailing Team pushed their Extreme 40 to the limits, battling the elements on the final days racing (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Red Bull Sailing Team
Red Bull Sailing Team pushed their Extreme 40 to the limits, battling the elements on the final days racing (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 4, 29 races (22.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 188 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 180 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 179 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 176 points.
5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 158 points.
6th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 153 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 145 points.
8th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 144 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 137 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 123 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 94 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 18 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 16 points.
4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 13 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 9 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points.
7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 9 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 8 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 6 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) 3 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 2 points.

The Wave, Muscat<br />The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory on their home waters (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Wave, Muscat
The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory on their home waters (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Realteam in Muscat, Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series 2013 - © Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

Realteam in Muscat, Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series 2013 – © Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

 

Tomorrow, the Swiss sailing squad onboard Realteam will line up against some of the best sailors in the world for Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series. After posting a third place overall in Singapore, the crew is ambitious but more aware than ever of the high level of competition that awaits them.

Muscat, Oman – 18 March 2014 Just a month after posting an impressive third place overall at Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore, the Realteam crew is going into Act 2 in Muscat, Oman (19-22 March) feeling confident and highly motivated.

Eight out of 12 teams won at least one race during the Singapore event, illustrating how high the level is as Jerome Clerc explains: “The standard of the other teams is going to increase compared to Singapore. With one round behind them, the big teams are going to show their strengths and we will need to remain consistent and progress with them in order to stay competitive,” he said. “We have a long way to go still and are constantly looking for ways to improve our performance!”

Repairs on the Realteam catamaran, powered by Realstone, following a collision with Oman Air in Singapore, are complete and the team is looking forward to racing a new venue in Muscat, Oman and a slightly different format. Racing off the Almouj Golf club will be “Open Water” instead of the usual “Stadium Racing” which translates as longer legs rather than the short course city centre competition conducted in Singapore. “The game will be much more open with this format with less restrictions,” said helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis. “The key to success for Realteam will be communication, we will be looking to continue in the same vein as in Singapore. If we avoid the errors that we made during Act 1 we can set our sights on the podium!”

The first event was action packed with excitement and come backs, there were several collisions on Marina Bay but they were all eclipsed by the spectacular crash between Groupama and Aberdeen. The overall results went to the wire with the double points final race being the decider.

Anything can happen in Oman!

To follow the racing live, go to www.extremesailingseries.com
Realteam Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series crew
Arnaud Psarofaghis – helmsman
Jerome Clerc – skipper/mainsail trimmer
Bryan Mettraux – headsail trimmer
Thierry Wasem – bowman
Nils Palmieri – fifth man
Shore team: Jeff Kerleguer and Sebastien Stephant
Coach: Etienne David
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 ranking after Act 1
Alinghi (SUI) – 217 points
The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 193 points
Realteam by Realstone (SUI) – 178 points
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) – 168 points
Groupama sailing team (FRA) – 160 points
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – 156 points
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – 152 points
Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) – 128 points
Oman Air (OMA) – 128 points
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – 126 points
Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) – 82 points
GAC Pindar (AUS) – 59 points

EFG Bank Champions, Sidney Gavignet and Oman Sail Crew

EFG Bank Champions, Sidney Gavignet and Oman Sail Crew (Photo courtesy of Oman Sail)

A consistent performance throughout the 15 days of racing including a second place in today’s Leg 7, was enough for EFG Bank (Monaco) to be crowned overall winner of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014 – the region’s only long distance offshore sailing endurance race between Bahrain and Muscat.

The winner of Leg 7, after a really exciting close race to The Wave, Muscat, the Tour’s final destination, was Kay Heemskerk and his young team of students on Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft. This final impressive result confirms third place overall.

Forty-one-year-old Gavignet – Olympian and winning Volvo Ocean Race skipper – who put together a strong team for this event including leading French sailors Cedric Pouligny and Damien Iehl, plus two of Oman’s best sailors – Ali Al Balushi and Mohammed Al Mujaini – sailed impressively throughout the series using their vast amount of experience to help extend their early lead. They finished with a six point clear margin over Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team skippered by Marcel Herrera.

Chatting as he stepped ashore this afternoon, Gavignet commented: “It is a good job done. I am very happy for the crew and EFG, and for Monaco also because we were flying the Monaco Yacht Club colours. It is a great, great race with fantastic competition. Every leg we were fighting and we only ever won by a close margin.”

EFG Bank (Monaco) was under constant threat from the exceptionally strong youth contingent – the European Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, and today’s final race winner, Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft.

The young crew on Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, whose average age is just 26, gave the EFG Bank (Monaco) team plenty to think about throughout the series. Although they only won one leg of the Tour and two Inport races, their consistency, with a string of second places, was what kept them in contention.

Twenty-one-year-old Marcel Herrera – Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team’s skipper – was thrilled to have finished second overall: “It is fantastic and a really great result for the team. We were always at the top with anything from a first to a third and had consistent results so I am really proud of the guys because second is fantastic for us.

“We will be back for sure and we’ll do everything we can to promote this Tour because it is a seriously

great event.”

Kay Heemskerk and team on Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft made a promising debut at last year’s event finishing fourth but proved that, by focusing on intense training in the lead up to this event, they were able to deliver the result they were looking for – a podium position.

Going into today’s race they had to beat American Katie Pettibone, skipper of Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat’s all women’s team to ensure their place on the podium. A final race win for the Dutch boys was more than enough.

Heemskerk said: “Winning today was one of the highlights of the event. We focused on the girls on the first beat and, once ahead, we were able to sail our own race and manage to keep ahead of EFG Bank.

“I feel amazingly happy to have won today, and to have achieved our goal of a position on the podium. I will be back next year because it is such a beautiful area to sail. I hope that more Europeans take time to consider racing this event because it is unique and highly competitive.”

At the closing ceremony and overall prizegiving held at the Oman Sail headquarters at The Wave, Muscat this afternoon, competitors and guests were honoured with the presence of His Excellency Sayyid Hamoud Bin Faisal Albusaidi – Minister of Interior.

David Graham, Oman Sail CEO said he was impressed by the standard of competition: “The fourth edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour has produced a stronger than ever level of competition. I am particularly pleased to see the healthy mix of youth, women, regional and professional sailors develop into a highly competitive, international fleet.

“The vision by Oman Sail to develop the region’s sailing talent and reignite the rich maritime heritage has become a reality. EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour has offered an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the region as an exceptional international race destination with its splendid sailing conditions, and fascinating mix of ancient traditions and modern sophistication. I believe this year’s event has really strengthened that image and has put the Middle East on the map as a prime international yachting location.”

George Catsiapis, managing director of EFG International in Monaco added: “I would like to congratulate all the teams for completing the 760-nautical mile race, and Sidney Gavignet and his team EFG Bank (Monaco) in particular, for their impressive performance, which resulted in an overall win. It has been great to see such a high level of racing in this year’s edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour.”

Ghasi Humaid AL Hashmi, Deputy Director General of Tourism Promotion, Oman Ministry of Tourism was also present and was keen to congratulate the sailing teams: “The Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT) 2014 has definitely helped in promoting the rich Arab heritage, culture, and traditions of Oman. Sailing enthusiasts from around the world came and participated in this major sporting event that further bolstered the country’s tourism sector and highlighted its vast maritime potential. We would like to congratulate all winners and participants in this competition and we hope to see you all again next year. We would also like to commend our sailors who brought pride to our country by competing with other international teams. Lastly, we would like to thank the organizers who worked hard to ensure the success of SATT 2014.”

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)

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.

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act2. Singapore. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Oman Sail’s The Wave, Muscat is finding it tough in the very light conditions in Singapore, but remains upbeat with an eye on the overall season results. The mixed European and Omani crew received special support today from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore, a dignitary that was heavily involved in a joint project called the Jewel of Muscat, a hand-stitched traditional dhow.

Oman Sail’s The Wave,  Muscat is finding it tough in the very light conditions in Singapore, but remains upbeat with an eye on the overall season results. The mixed European and Omani crew received special support today from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore, a dignitary that was heavily involved in a joint project called the Jewel of Muscat, a hand-stitched traditional dhow.

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act2. Singapore. The Wave Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan with crewmates: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA),Ed Smyth (NZL) and Musab Al Hadi (OMA) in action during day 3 of racing. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The focus remained firmly fixed on the overall series title for the crew of The Wave, Muscat despite another testing day in light shifty breezes in Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore.

After three days of racing in Marina Bay, Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 team is lying in third place overall but a place on the podium in any of the seven races completed eluded them for the first time in two seasons.

Once again it was Alinghi, helmed by Morgan Larsen who dominated the third day extending their lead to 27 points.

“We have a long term view,” said 2012 season champion Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, who has his eyes firmly on the overall series. “We hope to be in the top three by the close of racing on Sunday and if not, we know we can still bounce back from the situation and be in contention. It is a long season and there are six more events to go.

“It is fair to say that we have struggled with the conditions in Singapore, the Lake sailing experience of some of the guys in the fleet is really paying off this week. Most of the Extreme Sailing venues are difficult but Singapore takes it to another level,” he said.

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act2. Singapore. The Wave Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan with crewmates: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA),Ed Smyth (NZL) and Musab Al Hadi (OMA) in action during day 3 of racing. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The progress of the Omani team is being closely watched; both at home in Oman where the racing is broadcast live on Oman’s Sport Channel, and in Singapore where the team received support from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore Mr Zakariya bin Hamed Al Sadi.

Mr Zakariya was involved in the Jewel of Muscat, a remarkable joint project between Oman and Singapore that saw the recreation of a 9th century hand stitched dhow (70,000 stitches!).

It sailed the Silk Route from Oman to Singapore to be gifted to the government of Singapore by the Sultan of Oman in celebration of the historic friendship between Oman and the Indian Ocean nations, and Singapore in particular.

“I am delighted to see the Omani team The Wave, Muscat taking part in such a big international event at this fantastic venue in Singapore,” said Mr Zakariya.

“The team carries a message introducing Oman and its capital Muscat to the world at large. I met the crew back in 2011 and today I am proud to see more Omanis racing and am also proud of what the team has achieved in the series especially winning the title last year!

“Having two Omanis as part of the team is evidence of the skills and expertise our sailors have had to develop to win selection in such a competitive event. It is also evidence of the success of our national project Oman Sail in its vision and objectives in developing the young Omanis in this sport.”

Zakariya’s visit gave Hashim al Rashdi and Musab al Hadi a boost; they are on a steep learning curve and after another tough day hopes remain high as the The Wave, Muscat goes into the final day tomorrow.

“We had a big issue with the start line so hopefully tomorrow we can get that right and we will need to stay out of trouble because we had too many penalties,” said Hashim. “We had very light winds today again which made it difficult for everyone. We are sailing well as a team but things are not going our way but we have one more day, we are going to learn from some mistakes and try to avoid any in the finals.”

Final racing is scheduled from 1500-1830 (SGT) and the finale from Singapore will be broadcast live on Oman TV’s Sport Channel from 1700-1830 (SGT) (1300-1430 Muscat time).

Muscat , The Wave 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)