Pennec’s men lead going into the first public ‘stadium’ day tomorrow

The all-French crew onboard Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Pierre Pennec were on fire today hardly putting a foot wrong with three wins out of five races on day 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series at The Wave, Muscat. The Swiss team of Alinghi led by Tanguy Cariou and helmed by Yann Guichard, ably supported by the crew of Nils Frei and Yves Detrey, won the first race and were in the top three in the first three races which secured them second place overall. Home team, The Wave, Muscat struggled to begin with then posted a 2nd, 1st and a 2nd to grab third place by the end of the day, nine points ahead of Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing who were really consistent in their performance today.

Terry Hutchinson’s team on Artemis Racing didn’t quite have the day they hoped for, after ended up in a four-way tie at the top at the end of play yesterday. They have now dropped to fifth overall, just 2 points ahead of Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air team. Some of the teams new to the circuit are finding the going a little tougher with little training time, they are at the beginning of the Extreme 40 learning curve. But that doesn’t seem to have dampened their spirits: “It was another fantastic day, it can not be better with the wind direction and the sea breeze we had today. I would say it’s a sailing paradise here in Oman,” said Team Extreme skipper Roland Gaebler. “There was a lot more action on the water, a lot of nose-diving but at least no capsizes but it was close thing.”

For Niceforyou skipper Alberto Barovier and his all-Italian team learning fast is the name of the game: “We are learning about the boat all the time, how to drive it, how to round the mark. You need to get the best of the day and learn the most for the future. We are a new team, new at multihulls, especially with this breeze. We never even took a reef before! We need to stay quiet, learn and take everything point we can and learn from all the mistakes we are doing.”

With up to 21 knots the 11-boat fleet raced the first race with a reef in the mainsail, and it was wet ride on board in a short, choppy sea state. The wind decreased slightly throughout the afternoon to around 16 knots but the 44 sailors handled the conditions well: “The starts have been very impressive so far,” said Gilles Chiorri, Events Director. “They are all very close together with two different strategies – some starting fast on starboard with right of way, whilst the others opting to find a space on port which them gave the advantage of one less tack on the first windward leg which saves them about 4 to 5 boat lengths which is a lot as the racing is so close.”

The 11-boat fleet have enjoyed some fantastic sailing conditions here in Oman over the past two days on the open-water courses, but from tomorrow Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat will be open to the public and, as such, the racing will be staged close to shore in front of the spectators within the confines of a ‘stadium’ race course. “I hope that everything goes well tomorrow, it will be a completely different game but we will try to stay out of the traffic, not to get into trouble or cause any,” said Roland.

Racing starts at 1400 local time (1000GMT) tomorrow with the Race Village opening to the public between 1100-1800 local time. An array of on shore entertainment has been arranged for the thousands of public expected to attend over the next three days.

Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat

Day 2 Results after 11 races:*

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 101 points

2nd Alinghi, 91 points

3rd The Wave, Muscat, 89 points

4th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 80 points

5th Artemis Racing, 76 points

6th Oman Air, 74 points

7th Team New Zealand, 64 points

8th Luna Rossa, 62 points

9th Team Extreme, 36 points

10th Niceforyou, 32 points

11th Team GAC Pindar, 21 points

• Provisional: Luna Rossa has requested redress after port/starboard incident with Niceforyou.