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Countdown Begins To The Final Of The Extreme Sailing Series Asia: Muscat

Januari 25, 2010 @ 19:12:19   Foto Th. Marthinez

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In just ten days time the final of the Extreme Sailing Series
Asia will kick off at The Wave, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman,
with six international teams competing for the inaugural title.
The Series will end on a high with the Extreme Beach Party, a
two day grand finale for the public over the Omani weekend.

Khamis Al Anbouri, bowman on Oman Sail Masirah, currently topping
the leaderboard, is looking forward to returning to his home
port. "We are pumped up and ready to take on the World!" he
laughed. "It's great to be coming back to Muscat and for the
home crowd to see first hand the five other top teams competing
on the circuit. They are promised an awesome spectacle."

Six teams, racing radical 40-foot catamarans, started their
battle for the inaugural title in Hong Kong at the end of
November, before heading to Singapore mid-December... And now
they arrive in the Sultanate of Oman for the grand final that
takes place from the 1st-5th February. Global brands such as Red
Bull and BT back two of the racing teams, and China has also
entered a team for the first time.

Going into the deciding round, Pete Cumming (GBR) and his crew
onboard Oman Sail's Masirah have a 5-point lead over Nick
Moloney's (AUS) BT, tied with new team China Team, skippered by
Thierry Barot (FRA). Just one point behind them, also tied, is
The Wave, Muscat, helmed by Paul Campbell-James (GBR) with Omani
powerhouse Nasser Salim Al Mashari (OMA) as his bowman and
newcomer to the Extreme 40 circuit, Red Bull Extreme Sailing,
skippered by double Olympic Gold medallist Roman Hagara (AUT)
with his Olympic crew Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT) as tactician.
In sixth place is another double Olympic Gold Medallist, Shirley
Robertson (GBR) skipper of Rumbo Almería joined by double
Olympic Silver Medallist Ian Walker (GBR).

The Extreme 40 multihulls are 'speed machines' that race close to
shore on tight courses, unlike most sailing events - and in this
final event they will be competing in short, exciting, 15-minute
races starting each day at The Wave, Muscat from 2pm. Race
Director, Gilles Chiorri (FRA) will be throwing everything at
the teams including possible speed trials, slalom courses and
even some match racing - an interesting prelude to the much
-anticipated mammoth multihull battle between America's Cup
antagonists Alinghi and BMW ORACLE Racing. (Note: traditionally
match racing is only competed in monohull boats).

His Excellency Eng. Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi, Head of Muscat
Municipality said "The Extreme Sailing Series Asia is the first
of a number of high profile sporting events that will be taking
place in Oman this year and we are looking forward to watching
some of the world's best sailors compete right on our shoreline.
Oman has a rich maritime heritage and this event is a perfect
tool to help showcase the potential of the Sultanate as a key
sailing location internationally."

The first three days of racing will be dedicated to hosting VIPs,
national and international media, while the 4th and 5th February
will see Al-Hail beach, to the West of the capital Muscat,
transformed into the 'Extreme Beach Party'. Each morning from
10am there will be a five-a-side football tournament featuring
members of the Omani national football team, winners of the 2009
Gulf Cup of Nations, volleyball matches, the Red Bull Street
Style team for the Muscat leg of the international leg of the
freestyle football competition, 'try-sailing' sessions, as well
as family activities, food stands and entertainment.

Roman Hagara, skipper of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, has edged up
the leaderboard, finishing second overall in Singapore after a
disappointing sixth at the first event in Hong Kong where they
struggled to overcome gear failure problems. "We are ready to
race and proud to be invited to this beautiful country. It is
not our first visit and we look forward to meet a lot of friends
. I am sure that we will enjoy it. We expect a competitive but
fair race."

The Asian circuit follows hot on the heels of the award-winning
Extreme Sailing Series Europe that, in just three years, has
become a top five fixture in the international sailing calendar.
The fleet which will race in Muscat includes three double
Olympic gold medallists, a double Olympic Silver Medallist, 29
World Championship titles, 9 round the world navigations, 23
Olympic games attended and 10 America's Cup sailors.

OC Events, organisers of the series, has brought the circuit to
the Middle East and Asia for the first time to demonstrate the
potential of a full-scale series in 2010/2011. Mark Turner, CEO
of OC Group, explained, "Developing a series here in the Middle
East is the next step in the evolution of this ground-breaking
circuit. Never before has there been top-level racing, right in
the heart of cities, within metres of the shore, designed to
entertain the public, media and VIP's - not just other sailors.
It's unique for the cities and it is unique for our sport.

"The GCC region is ideal for high-integrity sailing events and we
are bringing the circuit here to demonstrate to key stakeholders
and the media what a full scale circuit with top level on-water
action coupled with high-end VIP corporate hospitality and an
all-inclusive shore side entertainment package can deliver. The
Muscat event promises to be a spectacular conclusion to this
inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia."

The Extreme Sailing Series Asia: Muscat is supported by the
Muscat Municipality and Oman Sail, the Ministry of Tourism
backed initiative to reignite the Sultanate's maritime heritage
and inspire young Omanis to achieve their potential through
sailing.

Current standings after two events:

1 - Oman Sail Masirah: Pete Cumming (GBR)

2 - BT: Nick Moloney (AUS)

3 - China Team: Thierry Barot (FRA)

4 - The Wave, Muscat: Paul Campbell-James (GBR)

5 - Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team: Roman Hagara (AUT)

6 - Rumbo Almería: Shirley Robertson (GBR)

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