Saturday, 2 July 2011
HE Amb Hunaina on board Oman Air. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail
by Mohammed Al Eissa
The Extreme Sailing Series Boston got off to thrilling start today, with a fantastic opening day for Oman Sail’s The Wave Muscat. Three race wins was enough for the team to finish the day in second place, just one point off first placed Artemis Racing from Sweden. For Oman Air, a well fought battle mid-fleet see’s them finish today in eighth place. Showing their support for the Omani teams today were Her Excellency Hunaina Al Mughairi, Oman's Ambassador, in the USA, and Her Excellency Lyutha Al Mughairi, Oman's Ambassador for the United Nations, who were both impressed to see the Oman Sail Extreme 40’s in action for the first time.
The American city delivered some challenging sailing conditions for the 11 boat international fleet today, with mixed wind speeds making for some unpredictable racing. Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air’s Omani bowman explained: “The weather is lovely, the sun here reminds me of Oman, but for sailing it has been challenging conditions. The wind is difficult to predict and has been really up and down – all the fleet found themselves without wind at one point during the race and the boats would just stop in the water. Everyone had at least one bad race because of the wind, and we are hoping that it is steadier tomorrow.”
Despite only having one hour of training before racing this morning with new British skipper Leigh McMillan, the team on The Wave Muscat got their event off to a perfect start, with an incredible win in the first race of the day, 20 seconds ahead of the second placed Luna Rossa (ITA), skippered by Paul Campbell-James, the 2010 Skipper of The Wave, Muscat. Khamis Al Anbouri, the team’s Omani bowan who was part of the 2010 winning team commented: “We were nervous going into today as we had so little training time together, but we are really happy with the result. Tomorrow we will focus on going into the race in the same frame of mind, and work hard to get more results like today. I am really excited about the rest of the event here and feeling confident we can deliver a good result.”
After his first day racing onboard The Wave, Muscat, Leigh praised the team for their attitude on the water. “I sailed with Khamis in the Asian Extreme Series in 2010, so it was good to be back on board with him again, but today was the first time I have sailed with Kyle Langford and even though I have known Nick Hutton for a long time it is the first time we have sailed together. I was concerned I wouldn’t be fully up to speed after only having one hours training, but we are really happy at the end of today. There is a lot of mutual respect amongst the team and that gave us the mentality to go out there and do our best today.”
The competition was fierce on the water today, and the team on Oman Air found themselves in a battle mid-leader board with Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi (SUI) and Team NiceforYou (ITA), all of which are skippered by experienced America’s Cup sailors. After a hard fought battle, they finish today in eighth position overall, an impressive seven points clear of Alinghi.
HE Lyutha and HE Hunaina with the Omani X40 team. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail
Showing their support for the two Oman Sail teams today were Her Excellency Hunaina Al Mughairi, Oman's Ambassador, in the USA, and Her Excellency Lyutha Al Mughairi, Oman's Ambassador for the United Nations. Her Excellency Hunaina joined both Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat on the water, to experience the racing first hand. She spoke about her experience afterwards and praised the teams for their professionalism. “For me it was my first experience on these boats and it was an experience of a lifetime! The sailors were really skilful, very professional and I really commend them for their efforts on the water. I am very proud of what Oman has achieved and I feel privileged to have been part of that today. Oman has always been a seafaring nation and through Oman Sail, we are going back to our roots.”
Her Excellency Lyutha continued: “I think the Oman Sail project is excellent. I worked with them when I was in charge of the Jewel of Muscat and I am very proud to be part of it again. To see the Oman boats doing so well has made my day. I have never seen sailing like this before, and to be part of this makes me very proud. We really want to use this to encourage our Omani youth to start sailing.”
Nasser Al Mashari felt proud to be sailing under the watchful eye of such important guests. “I am so proud that Her Excellencies both travelled here to watch us and support us in this Series. More and more Omanis are showing us their support, and inshallah, that will continue to grow in the future.”
At the end of today, it is the Swedish team of Artemis Racing who finish at the top of the leaderboard, with Red Bull Extreme (AUT) five points shy ofThe Wave, Muscat in third place. The current Series leaders, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) finish today in fourth.
There are four more days of racing left in Boston, before the event draws to its conclusion on the 4th July. The event here is part of the Boston Harbourfest, the largest the Fourth of July celebration in the United States, with huge crowds expected to descend on Fan Pier to watch the racing during the weekend.
After the event in the USA, the Extreme Sailing Series will travel to the UK, Italy, France, and Spain, before it’s conclusion in Singapore in December.
To keep up to date with how the Oman Sail teams are getting in and for exclusive updates visit www.facebook.com/omansail
Extreme Sailing Series Boston Results after Day 1, 7 Races
2011 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1: 20-24 February, Muscat, Oman
Act 2: 13-17 April, China
Act 3: 25-29 May, Istanbul, Turkey
Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA
Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, UK
Act 6: 16-18 September, Trapani, Italy
Act 7: 30 September – 2 October, Nice, France
Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, Spain
Act 9: 9-11 December, Singapore
Extreme Sailing Series