Friday, 25 February 2011

Extreme 40: Close Action in Light Winds on Day 4 for Oman Sail

Oman Air Masirah. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OCThirdPole.

by Mohammed Al Eissa

he penultimate day at the Extreme Sailing Series bought lighter winds for the eleven competing teams, this didn’t make the racing any less exciting – with The Wave, Muscat colliding with the Swiss Alinghi team, right in front of the public grandstand. With eight races completed, no-one team was dominant with five different teams each taking a race win. Another solid day for the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild allows them to just hold onto their place at the top of the leaderboard, going into the final day tomorrow.

The Wave, Muscat were placed third going into the days racing, but after a series of penalties and a collision with the Swiss team Alinghi just meters from the shore, they finished the day in fifth overall, 11 points behind fourth placed Emirates Team New Zealand. The damage sustained was bad enough that the Extreme 40 has been craned out of the water, and the team will work overnight to repair the damage and allow the team to compete in the final day of racing (Thursday).

Khamis Al Anbouri, bowman on The Wave, Muscat explained, “Today we had plenty of crashes and penalties. We were pushing the boat to the limits, but we need to learn from the mistakes me made today and sail cleaner tomorrow. We are going to be locked in a protest tonight after the collision with Alinghi as it wasn’t resolved on the water. There is some damage to our boat but nothing we can’t fix over night.”

The Wave Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OCThirdPole.

Day 4 saw a real shake up in the overall event leader board, with the teams who have so far dominated this event struggling in the light breeze. Artemis Racing who posted four wins yesterday, only managed to secure a tenth and ninth place finish in the first two races of the day, and the Oman Air team struggled in the light breeze, finishing the day eighth on the leaderboard . Nasser Al Mashari, bowman on Oman Air commented “The racing has been really hard to predict. Anyone can have a good day and then follow it with a bad one. It just goes to show how strong the fleet is – even boats that are at the bottom of the leader board can post a race win. The caliber of sailors here is amazing.”

At the other end of the leader board the team from Italy, Team Nice For You, posted their best performance yet, securing their first event win.

Whilst the racing has played out just meters from the shore, the Omani public and VIP’s were treated with front row seats to the action as it unfolded. Amongst those VIP’s in attendance today was Ahmad al Harthy, Porsche Carrera Cup racer, who was thrilled to see the Extreme 40’s in action. “It is incredible that the spectators can get so close to the action, you really feel part of it. You wouldn’t get this close to a race track!”

The pressure is building amongst the fleet with any of the top seven boats capable of winning the Extreme Sailing Series, Muscat when it draws to a conclusion tomorrow. Torvar Mirsky, skipper of The Wave, Muscat commented, “This series has been insanely competitive, and we expect the same tomorrow, it is going to go down to the wire, whatever team has their day tomorrow will win”.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Muscat, and spectators can expect more thrilling action from the public village. After leaving Oman the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series will head off to China. The Series consists of nine events on four continents over 11 months, ending in Singapore in December.

Results after 25 races – Wednesday 23rd February – overall points

1) Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) (194)
2) Artemis Racing (SWE) (187)
3) Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) (183)
4) Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) (176)
5) The Wave, Muscat (OMA) (165)
6) Luna Ross (ITA) (163)
7) Alinghi (SUI) (161)
8) Oman Air (OMA) (143)
9) Team Extreme (EUR) (96)
10) Team Nice (ITA) (75)
11)Team GAC Pindar (GBR) (43)

Oman Sail
Extreme Sailing Series