Tuesday, 24 November 2009

X40s: Oman Sail Masirah dominate Day 4 and steal lead from BT

Rumbo Almeria and China Team. Day 4, Hong Kong, © Guy Nowell/OC Events.

by Lou Newlands

Day four of the Extreme Sailing Series and it was all change at the top of the leaderboard as Masirah, one of two teams from the Sultanate of Oman, dominated the fleet today.

Masirah racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Hong Kong, © Guy Nowell/OC Events.

With four wins in five races, the European Extreme Sailing Series Champion skipper Pete Cumming was pleased with their performance today, "We are racing with 50% of our original crew so to be back at the top of the leaderboard is real testament to how hard our new crew members Khamis [Alanbouri] and Leigh [McMillan] are gelling with the team. Khamis, in particular, has had a brilliant day. Every day he is improving and it is really satisfying to see him become an integral part of our team. This is only his third full day of top level competitive racing and we aren't going easy on him, putting him in tough racing conditions but he's rising to the challenge each and every time."

Extreme 40s racing in Victoria Harbour during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Hong Kong, © Guy Nowell/OC Events.

It was the last race of the day that was the undoing for the team as Pete Cumming explained. "It was a school boy error and a lesson that you only need to learn once. We had a bad furl at the mark and were too focussed on the mark rounding and not on getting the kite away correctly. It's tough in these race conditions, but we are all learning from our mistakes and it won't happen again."

For BT it was a disappointing day having dominated the previous two days racing in both the longer Around the Island Race and the shorter, sharper racing more familiar to these professional Extreme 40 teams.

Onboard BT during Day 4 of Racing in the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Victoria Harbour Hong Kong, © Guy Nowell/OC Events.

"Today the guys on Masirah came out right from the very start gunning for the wins. Every time they were in a perfect position on the line which gives them a huge advantage. We made a couple of mistakes and they punished us every time," said BT Helmsman Andrew Walsh. "Masirah is sailing in the same way we did two days ago and we aren't adapting fast enough.

"We have already had a debrief on the boat on the way in and are aware where we went wrong and are ready to get out there tomorrow, get clean air off the line and back to where we were two days ago - at the top of the leaderboard," he concluded.

Fleet racing on day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Hong Kong, © Guy Nowell/OC Events.

The unique aspect to this Extreme 40 racing is that every boat has a guest onboard in the "fifth man" position. Philip Cook, a VIP guest with Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team today, came off the boat grinning with excitement. "I'm honoured to be out here, wonderful setting and great to be with these guys, what more can I say. It's superb. It's hard to describe, if I were to give it a rating out of ten, I'd give it an eleven! It's superb absolutely wonderful."

It was disappointment for Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team, a new addition to the Extreme Sailing Series Asia circuit as they had to retire during the fourth race today due to hydraulic problems.

Racing on day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Hong Kong. Image copyright Guy Nowell/OC Events.

Another new addition to the circuit, China Team, skippered by Hong Kong resident Thierry Barot also made their mark with three second places. Crewmember Tan Wearn Haw, from Singapore was pleased with their performance, "It was good fun today! We recovered from a not so glamorous first two races [they had an On Course Side or OCS - they were over the line at the start and didn't return to restart their race and in the next race were placed last] and then settled down in the stable conditions and got into a really fabulous groove. Hugh Styles is teaching us a lot and slowly slowly we are getting better. We are racing against guys who have sailed together all season so I'm really pleased with how we are performing against them."

The final day of racing will take place tomorrow from 2pm followed by a prize giving in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club at 7pm. The boats will then be packed up into their 40foot containers and shipped to Singapore where they will be reassembled with racing to begin on the second leg on 11 December.

Results after day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia:

Oman Sail Masirah 78
BT 71
Rumbo Almería 53
China Team 48
The Wave, Muscat 48
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team 46

Extreme Sailing Series Asia

No comments: