Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1, The Wave, Muscat, day 3 was the first public day of ‘stadium’ racing. The 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet raced close to the shore in front of the spectators and VIPs, with Terry Hutchinson and his crew on Artemis Racing having an exceptional day.
At the end of racing yesterday, Artemis was fifth overall but by the end of today they had moved up into second overall, just three points behind the leaders Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
'We had a brilliant day on the water today, there were a lot of people on the shore line – close enough to hear them cheering on the finish line. I have never experienced something like that before. It was a first!' said Hutchinson back on shore. 'The stadium racing format delivered everything it promised – short and intense races right in front of the spectators. When you have a good day you love it, when you have a bad day you hate it, and we absolutely loved it today!' Pierre Pennec and his all-French crew, after yesterday’s storming performance, had an average day but they have clung on to the top of the leaderboard after 17 races.
Dean Barker’s Team New Zealand scored their first ever Extreme 40 race win today, although they still remain seventh place in the rankings: 'It’s nice to win one but we have to do it a few more times,' said Dean Barker. 'We clearly feel the improvement but still need to do a lot better.' Germany’s Roland Gaebler scored his best regatta result so far with a third place putting some big smiles on the faces of the Team Extreme crew.
Whilst the racing played out within meters of the shore, the public Race Village came to life with the Beach Football League and the Red Bull Freestyle shows. And if the public couldn’t get to The Wave, Muscat to see the live action, then they could watch it on national TV as Oman TV broadcast live throughout the afternoon.
Today’s conditions were less challenging than on the previous two days with seven-nine knots of NNE breeze, but the 44 sailors had to contend with racing on shorter and tighter race courses within the confines of the ‘stadium’. Five fleet races were staged today, ending with a round of one-on-one match races, and today’s performance has seen a number of place changes on the overall rankings.
The home team of The Wave, Muscat retain their third place but took a while to find their form today, as did the Alinghi team – two fourth places being their best result today – dropping them two places fourth overall. Oman Air went into today’s racing in sixth place and Sidney Gavignet’s team will be disappointed to now be in eighth place. But they are only one point behind Dean Barker’s Team New Zealand, who in turn are only one point behind Luna Rossa who climbed two places on the leaderboard today after storming out of the starting blocks of the first race to secure their first race win.
Whilst the best sailors in the world did battle on the Extreme Sailing Series, the future of Omani sailing talent took to the water in Optimist dinghies – each Oppie represents one of the Extreme 40 teams – in the ‘Try Sailing’ sessions and were delighted to be presented to the public on the Extreme Sailing Series main stage at the end of the day. Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 3 Results after 17 races:
first Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 133 points
2nd Artemis Racing, 130 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat, 124 points
4th Alinghi, 121 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 120 points
6th Luna Rossa, 103 points
7th Team New Zealand, 102 points
8th Oman Air, 101 points
9th Team Extreme, 59 points
10th Niceforyou, 37 points
11th Team GAC Pindar, 29 points www.extremesailingseries.com