Extreme Sailing Series - Tension building ahead of start of act one

Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Leg 1. Muscat. Oman Pictures of the Wave Muscat, Alinghi, Artemis and Nice for you EX40 catamarans crossing the start line with the fleet during a practice day.
Extreme Sailing Series - Final preparations are underway for the 11 teams ahead of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 that starts tomorrow the twentieth of February at The Wave, Muscat, and the tension is building for the 44 skippers and crew.

'Everyone is going to be finding their feet and their place and figuring out what’s good and what’s bad. The intensity is brewing,' said Torvar Mirsky, skipper of The Wave, Muscat.

Three practice races were staged today with wins going to Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Artemis Racing and Team New Zealand. Not all the teams took part in all the races so it’s difficult to view the results as true pre-start indicators. Team New Zealand finished last in the first practice race but then bounced back:

'We feel a little bit on the back foot at the moment because a lot of the teams, even the new teams, have put in a huge amount of time already with different training camps, but we made a decision not to do it and we may pay for that a little bit initially,' said skipper Dean Barker.

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© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

There is little doubt that with 11 teams engaged in close-quarter combat on the short, ‘stadium’ format of Extreme 40 racing, the action is going to be fast and furious. Whilst the crews got ready for training today, they were entertained by the Freestyle Red Bull Mountain Biking riders who pulled off some pretty neat stunts that impressed both the media and the sailors. The entertainment is set to continue over the public days of Act 1 between the twenty second and twenty 4th February.

The Extreme Sailing Series Muscat, part of the Muscat Festival, remains the headline act with the boats racing in ‘stadium’ format close to shore over the public days. 'The windier it gets, the faster these boats go and the more out of control they get but that’s the fun part and that’s why everyone is sailing Extreme 40s, and that’s what everyone want to see,' said Mirsky.

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The latest weather forecast from Wetter Welt predicts 5-9 knots of breeze for the first day of racing but Monday could see gusts over 17 knots. 'Looks like Monday there could be some pretty good breeze,' said Dean, 'nothing like going straight into the fire – looking forward to that!'

Extreme Sailing Series Muscat, Act 1 Schedule:

Sunday February twentieth to Monday February twenty first, open-water racing starts 14h00 local time
Tuesday February twenty second to Thursday February twenty fourth public days Rave Village open 11h00-18h00, racing starts 14h00
Local time in Oman GMT+4hrs