by Oman Sail
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 - Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 crews on The Wave, Muscat, and Oman Air return to home waters this week as they prepare for round two of the Extreme Sailing Series that kicks off on Wednesday at the Almouj Golf Club, part of The Wave, Muscat development.
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act one. Singapore. The Wave, Muscat. Skippered by Leigh McMillan (GBR) with tactician Sarah Ayton (GBR), trimer Peter Greenhalgh (GBR), headsail trimer Kinley Fowler (NZL) and bowman Nasser Al Mashari (OMA) - Extreme Sailing Series 2014
The pressure is on to put on an electrifying show for spectators on the open water course off the golf club, although visitors will be spoilt for entertainment with ‘Try Sailing’ taster sessions available, the Red Bull Skate Park, a football tournament and ‘Try Golf’ opportunities.
After the dramas of Singapore where collisions and near misses were the order of the day, the waters at the stunning new venue are expected to deliver more sedate conditions for racing but according to Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, competition between the 11 boats is likely to be anything but demure.
'The incidents we had in Singapore proved a bit of an eye opener because it showed how close and tight this whole series is going to be,' he said.
'We are hoping to have more consistent conditions in Muscat where everyone can get locked into the racing but this could make it even closer so it will be more difficult to win races. We’ll have our work cut out.'
The Wave, Muscat posted nine outright wins in Singapore and finished on the podium 13 times in 29 races. They finished in second place overall behind the Swiss team Alinghi but as defending champions, with a third consecutive title in their sights, the crew knows it needs to be consistent to stay at the top of the fleet.
'It will be fantastic to be racing out of The Wave, Muscat and have the home crowds cheering for us and we hope we can deliver. We will be sailing the best we can,' said McMillan.
Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari who like Sarah Ayton and Kinley Fowler raced on The Wave, Muscat for the first time last month said he was excited at the prospect of racing in front of his peers and family. 'We travel all over the world with the Extremes but racing at home in Muscat is always really special,' he said.
'My friends and family will be coming along and it is a chance for them to find out a bit more about sailing and be proud. The Wave, Muscat won the event here last year and although we are in a brand new venue this year, we are really fired up. We just want to get started.'
'Oman always puts on a good show – historically Muscat has been one of the best stopovers on the circuit so there will be plenty of spectators and hopefully we will have their support,' said Rob Greenhalgh, skipper of Oman Air, a team that boasts two Omani sailors Hashim Al Mashari and Musab Al Hadi as crew.
'We aren’t feeling any pressure as the home team – we just want to get out there and sail. These are home waters but I’m not sure if anyone on the boat has sailed on them before, not even the Omanis so we have the home advantage but no special local knowledge apart from where the good restaurants are.
'There will be a sea breeze of some description but we don’t know whether it will be seven knots or 15 knots so we will have to wait and see but it will be nice open water and good conditions.'
Greenhalgh said he was pretty happy with their performance in Singapore. New crew, first event and they finished ninth out of 12 teams.
'It’s a tough fleet and we were a new team competing in very tricky conditions so I was happy. These events will get harder and harder because everyone will get better and better. It will be about minimising the mistakes but hopefully we can make improvements in Muscat.'
Extreme Sailing Series Act two Muscat starts on Wednesday 19 March at 1430 and fans can watch the racing live online on the official event website from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 at 1530-1700 local time / 1130-1300 GMT / 1230-1430 CET.