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Extreme Sailing Series Kicks Off In Oman

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  • Extreme Sailing Series Kicks Off In Oman





    The Extreme Sailing Series™ enjoyed a sensational start today as Oman’s capital city Muscat delivered perfect racing conditions to raise the curtain on the 2017 season.

    Muscat’s old town of Muttrah provided a stunning backdrop as nine international crews went head to head in their super-fast foiling GC32 catamarans for the first time this year.

    The kick-off of the 11th season of the Extreme Sailing Series was marked with seven trademark fast and furious races around a short course set in front of Al Alam Palace, the ceremonial palace of Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos.

    A beautiful breeze of around 15 knots combined with bright blue skies and the Gulf of Oman’s warm waters to create perfect conditions for the ‘flying’ GC32s to revel in.




    Fresh from their third-place finish in last week’s GC32 Championship, Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team emerged as the crew to beat as they stormed to victory in the opening race of the day before adding another two wins to their tally.

    The new-look team, with America’s Cup sailor and former match racing world champion Adam Minoprio at the helm, proved almost uncatchable early in the day before tailing off in the last couple of races.





    “At the start of the day it felt like we had good speed and we couldn’t really make any mistakes,” Minoprio said. “As the afternoon went on the breeze started to die and the wheels fell off a bit, but on the whole it was a good day. To be top of the table after day one when you’re racing against these teams is a good way to start.”

    Meanwhile the battle between Alinghi, winners of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series, and their old rivals Oman Air and Red Bull Sailing Team resumed the moment the first starting gun fired.

    Red Bull Sailing Team and Oman Air each picked up a race win and three thirds to see them end the day in second and third respectively, while Alinghi’s three seconds puts them just one point behind in fourth.

    Oman Air skipper Phil Robertson, who has taken over the helm from Morgan Larson this season, said that despite their solid results the team struggled to find the form that saw them win the GC32 Championship.

    “The sailing conditions were great but it was an awfully tough day for us, and there wasn’t a good feeling on board,” Robertson admitted. “The conditions were changing quite fast and we were always on the back foot and struggling to keep up. We managed to pull it together though and secure a string of podium finishes. It’s pretty much what we expected and we’ve just got to work a bit harder to make sure we’re at the top end of the leaderboard.”




    Wild card crews Team ENGIE and Team Tilt notched up podium finishes as they made impressive Extreme Sailing Series debuts while Tawera Racing ended the day with two race wins on their scorecard.

    “It was a really fun day out there,” Tawera Racing’s co-skipper and helm Chris Steele said. “It was a big improvement for us and we’re very happy. The boys are just getting better and better. The shorter races that are more about the starts and manoeuvres than the speed suit us. We’re just happy to come away with some good results.”

    The young guns of NZL Sailing Team end the day one place above Land Rover BAR Academy who were forced to miss the first three races because of problems with their support boat.

    An incident with Team ENGIE and SAP Extreme Sailing Team on the start line of race seven saw Land Rover BAR Academy’s bowsprit damaged, threatening the stability of their mast. They have been awarded redress for the race.

    Racing resumes tomorrow at 14:00 local time with Stadium Racing in front of Al Mouj Golf (GMT+4).

    Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 1, Muscat standings after Day 1, 7 races (8.3.17)
    Position / Team / Points
    1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Adam Minoprio, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Hervé Cunnigham, Richard Mason 69 points.
    2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 68 points.
    3rd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 65 points.
    4th Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 64 points.
    5th Team ENGIE (FRA) Sébastien Rogues, Gurvan Bontemps, Jules Bidegaray, Antoine Joubert, Benjamin Amiot 57 points.
    6th Tawera Racing (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Shane Diviney, Leonard Takahashi, Josh Salthouse 54 points.
    7th Team Tilt (SUI) Sebastien Schneiter, Jéremy Bachelin, Florian Trüb, Arthur Cevey, Jocelyn Keller 54 points.
    8th NZL Sailing Team (NZL) Logan Dunning Beck, Harry Hull, Isaac McHardie, Matthew Kempkers, Luca Brown 39 points.
    9th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Owen Bowerman, Elliot Hanson, Adam Kay, Oli Greber 35 points.
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  • #2
    SAP Top Dog In Muscat




    Muscat delivered classic conditions in an electrifying finale to the opening Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ that saw SAP Extreme Sailing Team become the first winners of 2017.

    Clear blue skies combined with a blustery north-easterly breeze gusting 25 knots as nine international crews hit the uncharacteristically choppy waters of Oman’s capital city.

    The action was nothing short of spectacular as the fleet of foiling GC32 catamarans flew round Muscat’s stadium racecourse off Almouj Golf.

    With boat speeds hitting speeds up of 31 knots the crews were pushed to the limit as they fought to tame their bucking GC32s over six nail-biting races.



    all images © mark lloyd/lloyd images








    After 26 races over four days three teams - SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Oman Air and Alinghi - went into the final race, worth double points, capable of taking the overall win.

    But after a fast and furious race SAP Extreme Sailing Team, helmed by Kiwi Adam Minoprio, clinched Act 1 victory with a second-place finish, crossing the line behind young wildcard crew Team Tilt.

    It is the first Act win for SAP Extreme Sailing Team since May 2015 when they took the top spot in Qingdao, China.

    “It was a great day and a fantastic achievement for the team,” co-skipper Rasmus Køstner said. “We knew we were in the lead going into the last race and we really wanted to win the Act. “It was full-on racing and we had to fight until the last race but it was fantastic to cross the finish line winning the regatta. It’s been a little while since we’ve won but it’s nice to be back on the top of the leaderboard.”

    The final race also saw 2016 Extreme Sailing Series champions Alinghi snatch second place overall from Oman Air right on the finish line.














    Alinghi needed to beat Oman Air with a boat in between them to leapfrog them on the scoreboard and they did just that, as Tawera Racing overtook Phil Robertson’s home team at the last minute.

    “This is a really good start to the season for us,” said Alinghi helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis. “I’m a little disappointed about how I sailed this week, it wasn’t at the best level, but every day we caught up a little bit and we ended up with second which is good. The crew did a fantastic job and I just need to be a little bit better next time.”

    Oman Air skipper Robertson, who replaces Morgan Larson this season, said he was disappointed to have been knocked off the runner-up spot in the last race but that his new-look crew had much to take from the Act.

    “We were in some strong positions today and just managed to slip in the last race which is a bit of a shame, but that’s yacht racing and it’s what we’ve got to get better at,” he said.

    Austrian crew Red Bull Sailing Team had to settle for fourth place ahead of Team Tilt and Team ENGIE in fifth and sixth respectively.

    Chris Steele’s Tawera Racing, who join the Extreme Sailing Series this season, finished seventh, with Land Rover BAR Academy in eighth and NZL Sailing Team in ninth.









    Despite finishing at the bottom of the table NZL Sailing Team were awarded the Zhik Trophy for the fastest boat speed in the Act after they notched up an incredible 31 knots on the penultimate race today.

    The four days of thrilling racing were the perfect start to the 11th year of the Extreme Sailing Series that sees eight Acts held in three continents culminating in a season finale in Los Cabos, Mexico, in December. The Extreme Sailing Series excitement will resume with Act 2 in Qingdao, China, from April 28 to May 1.

    Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 1, Muscat standings after Day 4, 27 races (11.3.17)

    Position / Team / Points

    1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Adam Minoprio, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Hervé Cunnigham, Richard Mason 286 points.

    2nd Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 270 points.

    3rd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 270 points.

    4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 247 points.

    5th Team Tilt (SUI) Sebastien Schneiter, Jéremy Bachelin, Nils Theuninck, Arthur Cevey, Jocelyn Keller 235 points.

    6th Team ENGIE (FRA) Sébastien Rogues, Gurvan Bontemps, Jules Bidegaray, Antoine Joubert, Benjamin Amiot 199 points.

    7th Tawera Racing (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Shane Diviney, Leonard Takahashi Fry, Josh Salthouse 195 points.

    8th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Owen Bowerman, Will Alloway, Adam Kay, Oli Greber 173 points.

    9th NZL Sailing Team (NZL) Logan Dunning Beck, Harry Hull, Isaac McHardie, Matthew Kempkers, Luca Brown 142 points.

    Extreme Sailing Series™ 2017 overall standings

    Position / Team / Points

    1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 12 points.

    2nd Alinghi (SUI) 11 points.

    3rd Oman Air (OMA) 10 points.

    4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points.

    5th Tawera Racing (NZL) 8 points.

    6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 7 points.
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