Morgan Larson Wins Extreme Sailing Series Muscat

Published on March 19th, 2016

Muscat, Oman (March 19, 2016) – Morgan Larson (USA) stormed home to an extraordinary win in the opening Act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Muscat on Oman Air, alongside the team, which includes Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth and Omani national Nasser Al Mashari.

Mastering the new foiling GC32, Oman Air won over 50% of the races sailed, more than any other team in Series history, as the Extreme Sailing Series officially completes the biggest transition of the last ten years.

“It was a phenomenal week for the whole team and obviously great to do that here on home waters,” said Larson. “We sailed at the highest level we have, so it’s going to take a lot of work for us to improve on from here. We know that a few of the other teams have some things to do and when they get that right, they’re going to be right there with us. We know they’re going to push and we have to keep on getting better.”

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Winning team. Photo: Lloyd Images.

Muscat saved the best for last, cranking up the breeze for the final two races that literally saw the eight GC32s flying around the track, and at times teetering on the edge. Charging into the final race, four boats – SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Land Rover BAR Academy, Alinghi and Red Bull Sailing Team – were gunning for the podium positions.

A betting man would have thought it was SAP’s day, but the Danes missed a mark rounding, and when realising their error, crash-gybed, almost losing their bowman Renato Conde in the process. Their mistake resulted in zero points in the race and a tumble down the rankings to finish in fifth.

“We are very disappointed right now,” remarked co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen. “We’ve been second throughout the whole of the regatta. We had a great start, and were leading the race and then unfortunately we didn’t take the right course, we thought we were heading to the finish and there was still one lap to go. We made a major error. Saying that we sailed well, and have been throughout the whole regatta. Oman Air sailed really strong all week, but I think we should have been on the podium.”

Red Bull Sailing Team, who came into the day in fifth place, elevated their game, charging out with the bit between their teeth to take victory in the first two races of the day as well as the final double-pointer, and more importantly, second overall. Skipper Roman Hagara commented: “It was a really tough day. We started quite well but it came down to the final race, and we put everything into it. In the end, it was perfect for us.”

Land Rover BAR Academy, with 2015 Extreme Sailing Series winner Leigh McMillan at the helm alongside skipper Bleddyn Môn, took third place in the final race, and third place overall, leaving Alinghi three points back in fourth.

McMillan commented: “I’m feeling pretty pleased with a podium finish for the Academy at the first event of the season. Being a brand new team, and this, for a lot of the guys, is the first time they’ve sailed a boat like this. It’s just a fantastic result. Everyone on the team has been performing really well and the experience they’re gaining in such a short period of time is huge.”

The 19 races staged over four days (March 16-19) delivered a sensational opening Act to the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series. “The switch to the GC32 catamaran is the biggest transition the Series has ever been through, and Muscat has delivered near perfect conditions to get the Series off to a fantastic start,” noted Event Director Andy Tourell. “The competition on the water has been fierce, with the form guide all but ripped up as the fleet get to grips with flying. Next stop is China, where we will see more open water racing combined with our unique Stadium format.”

With seven Acts left on the global tour, the next stop is in China on April 29-May 2.

BROADCAST: The 90 minute programme on Friday and Saturday (Mar 18-19), produced by Sunset+Vine, includes fixed onboard cameras delivering the action from the water, shore side cameras and graphics delivered by SAP. To watch…click here.


Final Standings – 19 races

1st Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 217 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 184 points.
3rd Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Bleddyn Môn, Leigh McMillan, Ed Powys, Adam Kay, Neil Hunter 175 points.
4th Alinghi (SUI) Ernesto Bertarelli, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 172 points.
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 166 points.
6th CHINA One (CHN) Taylor Canfield, Chris Steele, Shane Diviney, Hayden Goodrick, Luke Payne 153 points.
7th Team Turx (TUR) Edhem Dirvana, Stevie Morrison, Cem Gözen, Alister Richardson, Anıl Berk Baki 140 points.
8th Sail Portugal (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Bernardo Freitas, Javier de la Plaza, Luís Brito, Winston Macfarlane 138 points.

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The Line Up – Extreme Sailing Series ™ Act 1, Muscat

CHINA One sailing team:
Skipper/Helm: Taylor Canfield (ISV)
Floater: Luke Payne (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Hayden Goodrick (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Shane Diviney (IRL)
Bowman/Tactician: Chris Steele (NZL)

Alinghi (SUI)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
Co-Skipper/Mainsail Trimmer: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)

Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR)
Skipper: Bleddyn Môn (GBR)
Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Crew: Ed Powys (GBR)
Academy trialists: Adam Kay (GBR)/Oli Greber (GBR)/James Peters (GBR)/Neil Hunter (GBR)
*Final crew to be decided closer to the date

Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (NZL/AUS)
Bowmen: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)/James Wierzbowski (AUS)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Mainsail Trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Adam Piggott (GBR)
Bowman: Brad Farrand (NZL)

Sail Portugal (POR)
Skipper/Helm: Diogo Cayolla (POR)
Tactician: Bernardo Freitas (POR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Javier de la Plaza (ESP)
Headsail Trimmer: Luís Brito (POR)
Bowman: Winston Macfarlane (NZL)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Mainsail Trimmer: Mads Emil Stephensen (DEN)
Headsail Trimmer: Pierluigi De Felice (ITA)
Bowman: Renato Conde (POR)

Team Turx (TUR)
Co-Skipper/Floater: Edhem Dirvana (TUR)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Stevie Morrison (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Cem Gözen (TUR)
Headsail Trimmer: Alister Richardson (GBR)
Bowman: Anil Berk Baki (TUR)

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March 16-19 – Muscat, Oman
April 29-May 2 – Qingdao, China
June 23-26 – Cardiff, UK
July 28-31 – Hamburg, Germany
September 1-4 – St Petersburg, Russia
September 22-25 – Istanbul, Turkey
October 6-9 – Lisbon, Portugal
December 8-11 – Australia (location TBD)

Click the links to find out more about the teams and the venues.

Report by Extreme Sailing Series.

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