On the penultimate day of racing at Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman the action came thick and fast. Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Team New Zealand delivered the most outstanding performances of the day.
The short and demanding courses raced within the constraints of the stadium saw the on-water umpires dish out multiple penalties for blocking and port-starboard incidents in the light seven-nine knot NE breeze. The most dramatic incident of the day came when Torvar Mirsky’s The Wave, Muscat suffered a collision with Alinghi, and very nearly ended up on the breakwater boulders. As Mirsky’s crew called for water and tacked on to port, Alinghi did not react quickly enough and crashed into their port hull. The Wave, Muscat carried on racing but has been craned out tonight to undergo a long night of repairs.
The team has confirmed they will be back racing tomorrow and they are still very much in the game lying in fifth place overall. Only two points separate Luna Rossa in sixth place and Alinghi in seventh. Right now, seven of the eleven teams could still win Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series with multiple races to come and double-points up for grabs in the final race.
Roman Hagara and the crew of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, lying in fifth overall going into today, are now on the podium lying in third place after 25 races: 'We are really happy now we are third overall and it’s great for us. We are almost beginners and it is the best result so far and I hope we can continue. We have a lot of experience in the Extreme 40 already and Craig (Monk) is really strong so he can do a lot of things that we cannot handle without him, and those last minute calls are a bit easier so overall we made a good improvement.'
For Dean Barker and the boys on Team New Zealand it was an even better day, climbing from seventh to fourth in the rankings: 'Today everything fell into place really well and we had a fantastic day on the water and managed to get some good solid results which was very pleasing for all of us,' said Barker. 'It was a day where in a lot of ways we had a little bit of luck, which seems to be an important ingredient here, and we had some good starts and the crew were solid all day. We might have started the regatta slow but each day it feels like we have improved a little bit and if we can carry on improving then we’ll be satisfied.'
A total of eight ‘stadium’ races were staged off The Wave, Muscat that saw six different teams claim at least one race win, Team New Zealand scored two first places and the all-Italian team Niceforyou delighted in their first race win of 2011: 'I feel happy and happy for my crew that they did a very good job,' said skipper Alberto Barovier. 'The boat handling today was perfect and all the tactical choices were good, not all the races but most.' Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, helmed by Pierre Pennec, was consistently good enough today to hold on to their top place ranking, just 7 points ahead of Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing. With 11 points for a win, and 22 points on the final race tomorrow, its wide open in the top half of the leader board. As Dean Barker summed up: 'There’s a lot of points still on the table going so it’s going to be hard.'
Away from the racing, the 11 Extreme 40 teams are flying their dockside flags at half-mast today and tomorrow as a sign of respect to the people of New Zealand who have been affected by the earthquake that struck Christchurch on Tuesday. With Kiwi crew amongst the 44 sailors here, everyone’s thoughts have turned to New Zealand and the challenges they now face.
The Extreme Sailing Series has elected this year to nominate a charity from each host venue, different to 2010 when each team had an elected charity. For the first act here in Oman, the national Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has been chosen. The ESO is a non-governmental society which aims to help conserve Oman’s stunning natural heritage and raise awareness about environmental issues.
Founded in 2004 by Omanis across the country, representing a variety of professional backgrounds, with the key aim of ensuring Oman’s natural heritage remains intact for future generations to enjoy. ESO is eager to drive hands-on projects that not only achieve their environmental protection goals but also help raise public awareness and the need for conservation. Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat Day 4 Results after 25 races:
Pstn / Team / Skipper/crew / points
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham / 194 points
2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers / 187 points
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk / 183 points
4th Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glen Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas / 176 points
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri / 165 points
6th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena / 163 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Carioiu / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / 161 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari / 143 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Michael Walther / 96 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Alberto Sonino / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari / 75 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth / 43 points Extreme Sailing Series