by Jo Grindley
Extreme Sailing Series 2012 third Act takes place in Istanbul in less than one week’s time, 7th to 10th June, when the two Oman Sail Extreme 40 racing teams, Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat will take to the waters. This will be the second year that the historic city will host the event, Istanbul’s Old Town with the famous Blue Mosque providing an iconic backdrop to the event. The two Oman Sail teams have high hopes of firmly securing their positions at the top of the leader board.
Extreme Sailing Series Fleet - Extreme Sailing Series 2012
At the last event in Qingdao back in April, Oman Air narrowly missed out on a podium finish. For Oman Air’s skipper Morgan Larson (USA) it will be the first time he would have sailed in Istanbul. 'I’ve never sailed in Istanbul so I am excited to be sailing in new waters, I think we have a competitive team, where we are sailing is a pretty shifty place, but I think we are well set up for this.'
The Wave, Muscat’s skipper Leigh McMillan (GBR), a veteran to the Extreme Sailing Series having raced the circuit since 2006 and is very pleased with the start the team has made this year. 'We had a really good start this year, we were straight out of the blocks with two podium finishes and we are hoping to maintain this with another podium finish in Istanbul. This year we have a new team member Hashim Al Rashdi who has been excellent. We didn’t have much time to train before the Series began so it has been a steep learning curve and has meant a lot of learning on the job, but he has been sailing to a high standard and is doing a great job.'
After two events, the first of which was held at The Wave Muscat in February as part of the Muscat Festival, The Wave, Muscat lie first in the overall Series standings, with Oman Air in joint second place with Red Bull Sailing Team and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild just three points behind. Hashim Al Rashdi see’s Istanbul as a key event for both Omani boats. 'It’s an important leg for both teams, for The Wave, Muscat it is important that we maintain our lead to ensure we stay consistent throughout the Series. For Oman Air it is an essential leg, especially after winning the first act and then coming fifth in China it will be important for them to come back with vengeance and stamp their mark on the race.'
The Extreme Sailing Series sees some of the very best professional sailing teams in the world race against each other on identical Extreme 40 catamarans, on challenging, tactical courses, but close to shore to provide spectacular, stadium-style entertainment for the public.
The circuit visits Muscat (Oman), Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Porto (Portugal), Cardiff (UK), Trapani (Italy), Nice (France) and finally Brazil starting in February until December 2012. Racing takes place from 7th – 10th June.
Oman Sail website