Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Luna Rossa EX40 catamaran training prior to the start of the 2011 race series. Image © Lloyd Images.
by Emily Caroe
The Extreme Sailing Series™ is heating up in anticipation of Act 1 in Muscat, Oman which will get underway in five days time. For the second time this unique Middle Eastern city will host the international sailing series from the 20th-24th February (public days 22nd-24th) at The Wave, Muscat as part of the vibrant Muscat Festival.
The all-star team line-up will be watching the Omega clock as it counts down to the first race on Sunday 20th February for the ‘open-water’ racing, ahead of the ‘stadium’ format close quarter action in front of the public from the 22nd to the 24th.
The 11 international teams will start the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 season as they mean to go on, with their sights set firmly on the podium and some of the teams have already put in some intensive training at Massanah (north of Muscat) including the home teams of Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat. This season sees six new teams entering into the fray against five existing teams from last year, many with new skippers and crew. With the world’s sailing heavyweights gathering on the water for the first time, the competition will be highly charged and unpredictable, providing the Omani public with front row seats to the action as it unfolds.
His Excellency Eng. Sultan bin Hamdoon Al Harthi, Head of Muscat Municipality commented: “We are delighted that Muscat has been chosen as the first host venue of the internationally acclaimed Extreme Sailing Series. Taking place as part of our Muscat Festival, this fast paced sailing competition complements the land based Tour of Oman cycling race which sees 128 of the world’s greatest cyclists compete over six days. Providing inspiration as well as fun and excitement to all the spectators, these formula one racing machines provide an ideal platform to promoting the warmth, colour and visual splendour of Oman and we wish all the teams fair winds and an exciting competition.”
The Extreme Sailing Series will be one of the main highlight events at the Muscat Festival that celebrates Oman’s traditional arts, culture and heritage. There will be a diverse array of entertainment on the public days between 11.00am to 6.00pm local time, alongside the headline act of the Extreme 40’s including:
- ‘Try Sailing’ sessions
- Beach Football League
- Off-road RC car shows
- Kite shows
- Red Bull series of BMX, football and dance freestyle shows
- Kite buggy demonstrations (capable of reaching speeds in excess of 80 kmph!)
- Kids area with bouncy castle, face painting and PS3
- Food stalls
The Wave, Muscat EX40 catamaran training prior to the start of the 2011 race series. Image © Lloyd Images.
2010 winners, The Wave, Muscat return to defend their title, this time skippered by emerging star Torvar Mirsky. Torvar has been competing on the World Match Racing Tour for the last four seasons finishing second overall in 2009 and third last year: “Jumping into any new boat, you just have to figure out how to do it. With catamarans there is a lot of co-ordination and you are going faster so things are happening more often, more speed changes, etc, so you have to be really on the ball.” Read full interview with Torvar here
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Perched on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, stark beauty and vastly contrasting landscapes typify Oman: arid desert, secret oases, awe-inspiring mountains and a lush shoreline. On land, fauna and flora of a stunning diversity thrive. In the ocean, coral reefs churn the turquoise sea into surf that breaks onto white sandy beaches.
Its geography has made it an ideal setting for the Extreme Sailing Series, providing spectators with a natural stadium where the racing can be watched from the waters edge. The Race Village will be based at The Wave, Muscat – a new development with over 4,000 apartments, townhouses and villas spread over 2.5 million square meters offering contemporary architecture with subtle Middle Eastern influences.
Until recently much of Oman was undiscovered by tourists but it has developed into a high-end tourist location and a destination for foreign investment. The country has initiated and developed a national sailing program in recent years under the banner Oman Sail. Oman Sail is a new scheme set up to revitalise Oman’s rich sailing history and connect with young Omanis, whilst offering them the chance to compete internationally. Khamis Al Anbouri made history last year racing onboard The Wave, Muscat, when they won the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series and became the first Omani to win an international sailing event having only taken up the sport three years ago.
The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air EX40 catamarans training prior to the start of the 2011 race series. Image © Lloyd Images.
David Graham, CEO, Oman Sail, said: "Receiving such an event is invaluable because it is a source of inspiration that will bring more Omanis to discover sailing and write the next page of the maritime history of Oman. We hope this event will also bring many new visitors to the Sultanate of Oman and an even larger number to discover the country through the media generated.”
Check out the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series venue programme here
Extreme Sailing Series