The big story in this week's sailing news is unfolding in Muscat, Oman, where Act Two (March 19-22) of the Extreme Sailing Series is being held at the Almouj Golf Club. Here, 11 top international teams have gathered to determine bragging rights for this Act, to gain points in the Extreme Sailing Series' overall season tally, and-for those teams with aspirations for the 35th America's Cup-to keep their sailors razor sharp.
According to reports, the race committee managed to rifle off a total of seven races, with five different teams scoring bullets. 'SAP Extreme Sailing Team', 'Emirates Team New Zealand' and 'The Wave, Muscat' all claimed a single win, while 'Alinghi' and 'Groupama' each collected two victories in the light, 5-7 knots of oscillating breeze.
'It's going to be a long regatta and it's only day one but we're happy with our performance today and hopefully it can continue', said Jes Gram Hansen, 'SAP Extreme Sailing Team's' co-skipper. 'When you get ahead of the fleet it becomes easier, you have clean breeze and you're actually just gaining and gaining. Tomorrow we just need to stay focused.'
Anna Tunnicliffe, the Laser Radial Gold Medal winner from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is sailing aboard Alinghi after announcing her retirement from Olympic sailing in late 2013. 'We came away yesterday with two wins and a few Top-Five finishes,' said Tunnicliffe of the regatta's first day. 'The keys to yesterday were to get off the line well and hold your lane to layline. Once you rounded the top mark, picking your gybe back into the bottom mark was huge.'
Emirates Team New Zealand leads the fleet sailing on Day 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 in Muscat, Oman. Emirates Team New Zealand
'With the wind oscillating and not blowing much above seven knots all day, angles were changing hugely,' continued Tunnicliffe. 'There were times when you would come out of a gybe and think you would be OK on the mark, then the wind would die or shift and you would have to do two more gybes to the mark. And yesterday was not the type of day where you wanted to do extra maneuvers.'
Get the full report from Act Two of the Extreme Sailing Series, inside this issue, and stay tuned to the website for more racecourse action, including live video coverage, as it unfurls.
Oracle Team USA AC45 launch, Woolwich dock - Sydney, Australia
Speaking of high-performance catamarans, Oracle Racing, the Defenders of the 35th America's Cup, have been engaging Team Australia, the Challenger of Record for AC35, aboard AC45-class catamarans on the storied waters of Sydney Harbor. Inside, check out the team's multi-media report from their DownUnder training sessions.
Meanwhile, much closer to home, Artemis Racing recently had their AC45 out sailing on San Francisco Bay. Check out the multi-media report, inside this issue.
Also on the West Coast, momentum is starting to gather for this year's Congressional Cup (April 5-13), which has the honored distinction of being the 50th anniversary of this match-racing event. This year's event is attracting many of the world's best match-racing sailors to Long Beach, California, including Ian Williams (UK), Mathieu Richard (FRA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Simone Ferrarese (ITL) and Francesco Bruni (ITL), as well as the event's youngest former winner, Taylor Canfield (USVI).
The Congressional Cup - 2014 Congressional Cup Rich Roberts
'I can't believe it's the 50th Congressional Cup,' said two-time 'Congo Cup' winner Dennis Durgan, who claimed top honors in 1979 and 1980, after first having served as Dennis Conner's tactician in 1973, 1974 and 1975. 'The Congressional Cup has to be one of the finest regattas in the world. The doors that were opened for me have been numerous meeting and sailing with and against all the great skippers and crews carried over into most of the major sailboat races around the globe. I am so lucky.'
Get the full preview report from the Congressional Cup inside this issue and stay tuned for more news from this storied event, as it becomes known.
J/24 North American Championship Day 2 - J/24 North American Championship 2014 Christopher Howell
Also inside, get the latest news from the J/24 North Americans, the Clipper Round the World Race and the Volvo Ocean Race.
And finally, for fans of Olympic Class racing, don't miss Jesus Renedo's great image gallery from Day Three of the Arenal Training Camp, which is taking place in Mallorca ahead of the The 45 Trofeo Princesa Sofia–ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca (March 29-April 5). Enjoy!
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