Day two of round one of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat brought stronger breeze to test the eleven competing teams. The two Oman Sail Extreme 40s maintain their place in the top half of this truly international fleet
Extreme 40s downwind in Oman. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/OCThirdPole.
by Oman Sail media team
The day saw an interesting game of two halves develop amongst the fleet, with Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat both playing in the top half. Despite starting the day with a disappointing 10th place, the young team on The Wave, Muscat showed how much they want to be on the podium in Oman by winning in the penultimate race of the day and finishing the 5th and final race of the day in second, leaving them third overall at the end of day two. Khamis Al Anbouri, bowman The Wave, Muscat explained, “Coming into this regatta we knew we would have ups and downs, it is a really tough fleet. We had more wind today and sailed with a reef in for the first few races, which helps control the boats and it took some getting used to. We had a really bad first race, but turned it around and are happy to finish with a solid result.”
The team on Oman Air finished the day in 6th place overall, 10 points clear of their nearest rivals the New Zealand America’s Cup team, Emirates Team New Zealand, and just two points off fifth place. Nasser Al Mashari, bowman on Oman Air spoke about just how close the racing is. “We are obviously disappointed to not be further up the fleet at this stage, but the racing is so close it can all change within a race. Everyone is trying to make their mark from the start of the event.”
The Wave Muscat and Oman Air Masirah. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/OCThirdPole.
Groupe Edomnd de Rothschild, the French team who proved the biggest competition for The Wave, Muscat during the 2010 Series, today showed their form with their worst place of the day a third! Three race wins leave them at the top of the leaderboard at the end of day two.
Increased winds gave near perfect conditions for the second consecutive day at The Wave, Muscat with a steady breeze of 18 to 20 knots for most of the day. Dean Barker, skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand, America’s Cup winner and international respected sailor spoke highly of Oman. “It doesn’t get better than this! The weather, the atmosphere, it is perfect sailing conditions”.
The Wave Muscat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/OCThirdPole.
The Wave, Muscat today played host to a wealth of international journalists from the UK, France, Italy and as far afield as China, who joined the teams for the official event press conference before being offered the much coveted fifth man spot onboard the Extreme 40s, putting them right in the middle of the action.
Today is the last day the fleet will be racing in ‘open water’ before they make the move to ‘stadium style’ racing. They will race on shorter courses in close combat, close to the public, and we can expect some fantastic viewing from the shore side spectator stalls. Khamis Al Anbouri, bowman on The Wave, Muscat commented “Tomorrow the race course will be closer to the shore and much smaller. We are going to be sailing very close to the other boats which makes it the sailing much more challenging. It means we have to make quicker decisions as the racing is going to be much faster, but it will be interesting and fun!."
Extreme 40s in dock in Oman. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/OCThirdPole.
Tomorrow the race village will open to the public, with a host of family entertainment and a range of fun on and off-the-water activities at The Wave, Muscat which will be open from the 22-24 February, from 11am-6pm everyday. The village will be full of activities, shows and entertainment, all free to enter, including, ‘Try Sailing’ sessions, Red Bull BMX shows, a kids area and much more.
There are three days racing left here in Muscat and if the last few days are anything to go by, you can expect more surprises from tomorrows racing, 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.
Extreme Sailing Series