Extreme Sailing Series: Danes take early lead in Muscat

Published on March 19th, 2014

(March 19, 2014) – The fleet of 11 elite level Extreme 40 catamarans headed onto the Muscat racecourse for the opening day of Act 2 of the global Extreme Sailing Series™, in what it’s shaping up to be an unpredictable and close fought event, with five different winners over seven races.

The Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team had the edge over the less consistent teams, but with only 16 points separating the top eight, there will be some tough competition tomorrow as the front runners try to establish a firm lead.

“It’s going to be a long regatta and it’s only day one but we’re happy with our performance today and hopefully it can continue,” commented SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s co-skipper Jes Gram Hansen, who went on to talk about the key to success on this racecourse. “When you get ahead of the fleet it becomes easier, you have clean breeze and you’re actually just gaining and gaining. Tomorrow we just need to stay focused.”

SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Emirates Team New Zealand and The Wave, Muscat all came away with a win apiece, with Alinghi and Groupama sailing team taking two, keeping everyone guessing right up to the last race as to which team would finish the day on top. The fleet raced in open water, giving them the chance to stretch their sails under a brilliant Arabian sun, in a light breeze between 5-7 knots that played across the course, with each windward-leeward two-lap race lasting just over 15 minutes.

After a somewhat conservative start to the event for both four-times Olympic champion Ben Ainslie’s British team J.P. Morgan BAR, and Gazprom Team Russia, helmed by two-times Series winner Paul Campbell-James, the British helms began to master the racecourse, both securing finishes in the top three.

“We had some good races and some bad races, unfortunately more bad races than good ones so it was a little frustrating,” said Campbell-James. “There’s a lot of positives we can take from today – our downwind speed was a lot better, our upwind speed felt pretty good and our crew work is improving every day. The most important thing tomorrow is that we will be back to reaching starts, which may provide a bit of variety as to who gets to the line first. We’re close to the shore with a good Omani crowd as enthusiastic as ever, so we’re looking forward to it!”

It was a testing day for Realteam, who were unable to continue riding on their wave of success following their third place in Singapore just three weeks ago, and also for GAC Pindar, who couldn’t emulate their recent 18-foot skiff success during the day’s racing, with the teams finishing tenth and eleventh respectively.

Racing continues daily through March 22.

WATCH: The live online broadcast begins Thursday (March 20) at 1530-1700 local time / 0730-0900 EDT. Click here to view.

Standings after Day 1 (7 races)
1. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested; 48 points.
2. Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey; 45 points.
3. Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan; 45 points.
4. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari; 44 points.
5. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat; 43 points.
6. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson; 41 points.
7. Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi; 33 points.
8. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell; 32 points.
9. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov; 25 points.
10. Realteam (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri; 22 points.
11. GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour; 16 points.

ResultsEvent website

Source: Event media

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