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Kiteboarder challenges high-speed Extreme 40 cat in the gulf of Oman

'Tom Buggy takes on Land Rover Extreme 40'    © Lloyd Images

From the 19-22 March, the blue waters of Muscat, Oman hosted the international Extreme Sailing Series - the second Act of the 2014 global tour that attracts the world’s best sailors to race on the short, sharp Stadium-style racecourses.

Fans of the Series are more accustomed to seeing 11 high-performance carbon-fibre catamarans go head to head at speeds of up to an incredible 56kph - but spectators in Muscat were treated to a different kind of show, when Gaastra Team Rider Tom Buggy (GBR) challenged the high-speed Land Rover Extreme 40 to a drag race, to find out who would have the edge.

Tom Buggy and the Land Rover Extreme 40 -  © Lloyd Images  

British rider Buggy, who is normally part of the Land Rover sailing team, lined up against his teammates in a ‘boat versus board’ head to head, in 7-9 knots of breeze and flat water – just enough for his 17 meter Jet and race board to take on the punishing three mile round course.

Buggy explained: 'I kited out 500metres or so to meet the boat which was circling waiting for me to dial up and start and before I knew it, we were off at full speed. I pulled up from leeward so I was just in front of the boat and all I could hear was the full carbon 40-foot catamaran carving the water behind me and the winches groaning as the boat loaded up in the breeze. Suddenly I felt pretty small and the realisation of me falling off and getting run over was becoming a real worry.'

Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2 -  © Lloyd Images  

'After around a mile and half, I gybed off ready for our blast back to the event site but as soon as the boat turned behind me the 63-foot high mainsail created a huge wind shadow and stopped me dead. In a blink, the boat was already 100metres ahead and I had to work super hard in the wind shadow and light breeze to get the drive from my fins and catch up. With half a mile to our finish, I just managed to draw the boat back in - although the guys on board made it look effortless to blast fully powered, whilst I had to work every metre of the track, with my legs burning just to keep the drive from by board. We will settle for a draw – this time!'

The next stop for the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, is Qingdao, China 1-4 May, where Buggy will be taking on the Land Rover Extreme 40 challenge again – and this time, there will be no second place. Both board and boat will be linked with GPS tracking, bring the next battle closer to the fans. Watch this space.

by Joanna Hurt


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7:05 PM Thu 3 Apr 2014GMT

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