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All Lit Up In Oman

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  • All Lit Up In Oman

    Some big breeze blows into Muscat to greet the combatants in the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series!
    All images © Lloyd Images

    Practice race day here in Muscat and the conditions couldn’t be further from what the teams experienced at the start of the season in Singapore.
    Two metre seas, gusts of 22knots and it’s set to increase as Oman turns up the heat for Act 2 Muscat.
    We caught up with Race Director, Phil Lawrence, after four practice races that saw the familiar faces coping well with the blustery conditions:

    “The best performers today were SAP Extreme Sailing Team, The Wave, Muscat and Red Bull Extreme Sailing Fanpage.
    The big feature today was the size of the waves. A two metre swell meant quite a lot of nose diving for the boats/
    A compulsory reef in all day ensured the teams were close to the limit but under control.”

    Overnight the conditions are set to build as a storm blows over the capital, with the local weather report here issuing a warning for wind,
    rain and thunder it could prove to be an exciting start to the Act, with gusts up to 30 knots on the forecast. Watch this space!

    Despite just flying in this morning, Aussie James Wierbowski, mainsail trimmer on GAC Pindar, is raring to go and take on the big forecast. “I’m feeling really good. The winds nice and the suns out. I think we are prepared for all conditions. Big winds will work for us, especially with Seve’s (Jarvin) experience in the 18ft skiffs - he loves the adrenaline and is great at working in a team I’m sure he can keep us all on track, and if it blows heaps we are happy to send it.”

    Lino Sonego Team Italia will race in their own colours for the first time in their newly branded boat, and their headsail trim Gabreile Olivo, says he is ready for anything. “I am keen to sail in any conditions – these boats are made for 25-30knts, depending on the sea state so we will see, I’m ready for anything that comes my way.” The team placed seventh in Singapore and are hoping to step it up another level for Act 2. “Everywhere is new for us as we are a new team, so we will try and learn from each regatta, and hopefully we will be sailing a lot better here than we were in Singapore. We have a new boat, which is good and we are proud of it, and a new crewmember - he is an Italian guy (Stefano Ciampalini) who I have sailed with before, he is a very good sailor and he will fit in nicely on Lino Sonego Team Italia.” Ciampalini, a National and European champion, brings the tally of Italian’s onboard up to four.

    SAP Extreme Sailing Team delivered consistently good results in Singapore, placing second overall. The teams experienced Headsail Trimmer Thierry Douillard reflects on his previous experience in Muscat; “It is one of the best locations for racing, the conditions are good, last year was a great event. We hope to have good winds and to do as well or better than we did in Singapore. Whatever the weather brings we are prepped, last year we had two days of light wind and a good day with 18-20knts of solid racing, which is what we really like as the boys are used to that being from Denmark!” Douillard adds, “Last year in Oman we were leading on the podium during the whole event and just before the medal race we were second overall. We just want to keep working hard and keep performing as we were last year and in Singapore during the first Act.”

    With eight Extreme 40’s now in the water and ready to be raced, follow the teams’ progress this week by following the racing live at

    6 races down on the opening day in Muscat before the incoming storm put a stop to racing!
    The Wave, Muscat take 2 race wins to put them in pole position, with SAP Extreme Sailing Team,
    Red Bull Extreme Sailing Fanpage, Team GAC Pindar & Turkish Extreme Sailing Team -
    TURX taking a race win each. Here's how the scoreboard is looking.

    The opening day of the Extreme Sailing Series™, Act 2 Muscat, delivered an afternoon of perfect racing conditions, as the eight-strong Extreme 40 fleet flew around the costal racecourse in Muscat, Oman, relishing the North Easterly breeze that filled in from eight to 16 knots.

    With six races complete, the stand out team for the day was undoubtedly home boat The Wave, Muscat, with British Olympian Leigh McMillan on the helm joined by two-time British Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton. Aytons’s clear, concise tactics onboard saw the team sail a smart course, with the fastest boat speed downwind which led them to the podium in five out of six races, according to the SAP Sailing Analytics. The only blemish on an otherwise near-perfect score line came in the second race, after a tight rounding at the first windward mark with Red Bull Sailing Team, which resulted in a penalty and a last place finish.

    On the dock, helm McMillan was quietly satisfied with the result. “I didn’t realize how well we had done. We had a few good races – but then that last place, so that was frustrating. I love the intensity of the racing, it doesn’t give you time to sit around and contemplate a bad result, you have to smash into the next race and I like that. It was really nice work by the team, and great to be sailing in these fantastic conditions.”

    However, The Wave, Muscat know is isn’t easy to stay at the top, with McMillan admitting, “We often have our highs and lows in these events. We have to push all the way and not let our grip go.” With an anticipated 20 races still to come this week, the Omani teams four point lead over second placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team, co-skippered Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner, could quickly get eaten into. The Danish team had an outstanding day, finding consistency within the fleet and the rolling waves to finish in second place, proving that this team are hot contenders for a podium position, after their second place finish at Act 1, Singapore just four weeks ago. Even an OCS (over course start) in the second race today, couldn’t break the stride of the Danes, and thanks to the cool head of tactician Køstner, the team broke away from the fleet, took a right,shift that came in their favour and lifted the team from last to fourth place.

    Speaking after racing, Køstner summed up a job well done. “There are a lot of waves here so you have to think about your manaouvres. The key is full speed around the course. It is full on action out there – lots of white water spraying off the boat and with everyone pushing hard, things happen quickly. It was a good day on the water.”

    With a storm due to blow over the city tonight, Race Director Phil Lawrence is optimistic that we will see another day of idyllic 16knot breeze tomorrow for day two of the Act 2 Muscat, as the fleet move into the stadium and the event opens to the public.

    Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 2 Muscat standings after Day 1, 6 races (11.03.15)
    Position / Team / Points
    1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 50 points.
    2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 46 points.
    3rd Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 44 points.
    4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 43 points.
    5th GAC Pindar (GBR) Seve Jarvin, Ian Williams, Marcus Ashley-Jones, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 35 points.
    6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 34 points.
    7th Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakış, Diogo Cayolla, Matteo Auguadro 31 points.
    8th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Gabriele Olivo, Tom Buggy, Stefano 29 points.
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