Extreme Sailing Series: Different Winds, Same Leader

Published on March 18th, 2016

Muscat, Oman (March 18, 2016) – The eight Extreme Sailing Series™ teams took to the water for the penultimate day in what proved to be a light airs test of tactics and patience on the GC32 catamarans.

Proving they are masters of both light airs and strong breeze, the tough conditions barely fazed Oman Air during the four race schedule. They added another two race wins to remain on the top rank after day three of the event.

The light, shifty wind brought with it a change of fortunes for British Olympian Stevie Morrision and his co-skipper on Team Turx, Edhem Dirvana who put in a confidence-boosting performance as the second highest scorers of the day. The team, which includes former Luna Rossa America’s Cup sailor and past Extreme Sailing Series champion Alister Richardson, showed they all have the necessary talent to get up to speed quickly on the GC32.

Speaking about the switch to foiling, Dirvana commented: “I love it, foiling is the way forward and for the Series I think the evolution happened at the right time. The circuit is pushing us as sailors to learn more, and I think it’s giving our sport the edge that’s needed.”

Tomorrow’s final battle for the podium is raging, but a mixed day of results for SAP Extreme Sailing Team has put a little more light between them and Oman Air than the Danes will be comfortable with.

Co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen commented: “We’re not happy with the start of the day, but it was good to bounce back in the last race, sail a beautiful start, with good pace and sail well around the course to take the win. We expected Oman Air to be strong this year, but I think when the breeze is up we’re generally happy with our performance. It feels like we found a bit of the magic today key to perform well in the light stuff, so if we can keep improving, we hope we can close the gap.”

Just three points back are Land Rover BAR Academy, the youth team in third place, with the more experienced team Alinghi, breathing down their necks, one point behind.

Bleddyn Môn, skipper on the British Youth boat commented: “We didn’t really have any expectations coming in to the week, as we didn’t know where we would end up, but we’ve had some good results and we’re happy. It’s a good event for us so far and we’ll hopefully be passing on some of our knowledge to the young lads. I think the 2016 season is going to be really exciting, there’s lots to look forward to.”

Austria’s Red Bull Sailing Team currently sit in fifth place, while CHINA One and Sail Portugal continue to get to grips with both a new breed of boat, and the stadium style of racing the Extreme Sailing Series is renowned for – a challenge three-times Olympian and Portuguese skipper Diogo Cayolla is relishing. “I think our boat handling improved as a team today and we were then able to look to increase our distance from some of the other teams. I think we’re getting better each day. I’m enjoying sailing these boats even more than I thought I would. The foiling was just amazing earlier in the week, but even in today’s light winds, we can still sail good races.”

As the opening Act of the 2016 Series nears its close, any pre-season form guide has been all but thrown out the window, with all the teams showing they are capable of picking up good results – but can any of the challengers steal the top spot from Oman Air on home turf? Watch tomorrow’s final races from 1530GMT+4, to find out.

WATCH LIVE: The live 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.

Standings after Day 3, 13 races
1st Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 145 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 119 points.
3rd Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Bleddyn Môn, Leigh McMillan, Ed Powys, Adam Kay, Neil Hunter 116 points.
4th Alinghi (SUI) Ernesto Bertarelli, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 115 points.
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 110 points.
6th Team Turx (TUR) Edhem Dirvana, Stevie Morrison, Cem Gözen, Alister Richardson, Anıl Berk Baki 99 points.
7th CHINA One (CHN) Taylor Canfield, Chris Steele, Shane Diviney, Hayden Goodrick, Luke Payne 92 points.
8th Sail Portugal (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Bernardo Freitas, Javier de la Plaza, Luís Brito, Winston Macfarlane 83 points.


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)


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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