Day 1 of Act 1 of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series delivered a class Extreme 40 result – four boats finished on equal points at the top of the leaderboard – The Wave, Muscat, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Artemis Racing and Alinghi.
The conditions too were near perfect at The Wave, Muscat with a breeze that was on the positive side of 10-12 knots for most of the afternoon which allowed six ‘open water’ races to be staged off the waters of The Wave, Muscat. The new ‘young gun’ on the circuit, Torvar Mirsky, ensured home team of The Wave, Muscat claimed the top spot with two first places and a second place, getting the defending champions off to the perfect start. “Amazing conditions today, Oman’s got warm weather and a beautiful sea breeze, perfect sailing conditions for these Extreme 40 boats. For us, it was an amazing performance beyond what we expected. I know a lot of people thought we would be up there but I wasn’t so sure. Our team are working really well together – Nick Hutton and Khamis have done a really good job to get myself and Kyle Langford up to speed on these boats and we’re all working well together.” But always waiting to pounce was Pierre Pennec, the new skipper of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, who showed his mettle today as his all-French crew stepped up to the mark.
Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing crew, who demonstrated their strong form in yesterday’s practice races, continued in the same vein: “It’s the end of day 1 racing here in Oman and we’ve found ourselves in a four-way tie and I think that just sums up how the racing is, its just close and tight and everyone is battling for every point. It was brilliant, it’s the Extreme 40 delivered to the ‘tee’ today and, I think, from a novice in the multhihull world we are smiling! It was a really good day.”
Alinghi skippered by Tanguy Cariou and with Yann Guichard at the helm who, if you remember, put Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the podium for the last two years in second place overall is looking forward to the public ‘stadium’ days which start the day after tomorrow: “It’s a good start, we just make 5 practice races in four days, so its good to be at the top of the rankings. It sets us up well for the next day and especially the ‘stadium’ racing when it will be great to have the public and to have some tough and tight races.”
At the other end of the scale, match racing pro Ian Williams new to two hulls had a baptism of fire on Team GAC Pindar – the best result an 8th place. The umpires were kept busy – a clear sign the 11-boat fleet are pushing hard already – handing out multiple penalties to the all-Italian team Niceforyou.
And as the new teams and crew accelerate up the learning curve and their confidence grows, the combat will become even more intense. As the day 1 leader put it: “It couldn’t be closer… There are a lot of really good teams here and a lot of newcomers to the fleet who are really competitive people, and we always knew it was going to be tight and the results show that.”
Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 1 Results after 6 races:
1st The Wave, 49 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 49 points
3rd Artemis Racing, 49 points
4th Alinghi, 49 points
5th Oman Air, 42 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 39 points
7th Luna Rossa, 38 points
8th Team New Zealand, 31 points
9th Niceforyou, 24 points
10th Team Extreme, 17 points
11th Team GAC Pindar, 9 points