Oman Sail’s The Wave, Muscat is finding it tough in the very light conditions in Singapore, but remains upbeat with an eye on the overall season results. The mixed European and Omani crew received special support today from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore, a dignitary that was heavily involved in a joint project called the Jewel of Muscat, a hand-stitched traditional dhow.
Oman Sail’s The Wave, Muscat is finding it tough in the very light conditions in Singapore, but remains upbeat with an eye on the overall season results. The mixed European and Omani crew received special support today from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore, a dignitary that was heavily involved in a joint project called the Jewel of Muscat, a hand-stitched traditional dhow.
The focus remained firmly fixed on the overall series title for the crew of The Wave, Muscat despite another testing day in light shifty breezes in Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore.
After three days of racing in Marina Bay, Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 team is lying in third place overall but a place on the podium in any of the seven races completed eluded them for the first time in two seasons.
Once again it was Alinghi, helmed by Morgan Larsen who dominated the third day extending their lead to 27 points.
“We have a long term view,” said 2012 season champion Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, who has his eyes firmly on the overall series. “We hope to be in the top three by the close of racing on Sunday and if not, we know we can still bounce back from the situation and be in contention. It is a long season and there are six more events to go.
“It is fair to say that we have struggled with the conditions in Singapore, the Lake sailing experience of some of the guys in the fleet is really paying off this week. Most of the Extreme Sailing venues are difficult but Singapore takes it to another level,” he said.
The progress of the Omani team is being closely watched; both at home in Oman where the racing is broadcast live on Oman’s Sport Channel, and in Singapore where the team received support from Oman’s Consul General in Singapore Mr Zakariya bin Hamed Al Sadi.
Mr Zakariya was involved in the Jewel of Muscat, a remarkable joint project between Oman and Singapore that saw the recreation of a 9th century hand stitched dhow (70,000 stitches!).
It sailed the Silk Route from Oman to Singapore to be gifted to the government of Singapore by the Sultan of Oman in celebration of the historic friendship between Oman and the Indian Ocean nations, and Singapore in particular.
“I am delighted to see the Omani team The Wave, Muscat taking part in such a big international event at this fantastic venue in Singapore,” said Mr Zakariya.
“The team carries a message introducing Oman and its capital Muscat to the world at large. I met the crew back in 2011 and today I am proud to see more Omanis racing and am also proud of what the team has achieved in the series especially winning the title last year!
“Having two Omanis as part of the team is evidence of the skills and expertise our sailors have had to develop to win selection in such a competitive event. It is also evidence of the success of our national project Oman Sail in its vision and objectives in developing the young Omanis in this sport.”
Zakariya’s visit gave Hashim al Rashdi and Musab al Hadi a boost; they are on a steep learning curve and after another tough day hopes remain high as the The Wave, Muscat goes into the final day tomorrow.
“We had a big issue with the start line so hopefully tomorrow we can get that right and we will need to stay out of trouble because we had too many penalties,” said Hashim. “We had very light winds today again which made it difficult for everyone. We are sailing well as a team but things are not going our way but we have one more day, we are going to learn from some mistakes and try to avoid any in the finals.”
Final racing is scheduled from 1500-1830 (SGT) and the finale from Singapore will be broadcast live on Oman TV’s Sport Channel from 1700-1830 (SGT) (1300-1430 Muscat time).
Overall standings: Team AISM 1st, BAE Systems 2nd, EFG Bank (Monaco) 3rd – Short race leg brings drama in the dark for crews -
Dubai-based Team AISM has maintained the overall lead by claiming the fourth leg of the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour following a night of drama for the world-class crews from around the world and the Gulf region competing between Dubai and northern Emirate Ras Al Khaimah.At only 53 miles up the coast from Dubai to Al Hamra is the second shortest leg on the bruising 15 day and 760 nautical mile EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour and should have been routine. But due to Custom’s procedures in Dubai taking longer than anticipated, the scheduled mid-morning start was delayed until 14:50, forcing crews to re-equip themselves and their boats ready for a night time finish.The result was a race of intense fighting in darkness with the wind ranging from zero to as much as 17 knots, with the boats reaching or sailing downwind with Bertrand Pace’s overall leader, AISM, continually a nose ahead. Following AISM into Al Hamra were the youthful Team Messe Frankfurt led by Marcel Herrera and in third team BAE Systems.Yet the finishing order does little to tell of the drama that unfolded for the teams at around 20 miles out from the finish and an hour and a half after it turned dark. Just at a time when the boats were being pushed to limit sailing high under their big spinnakers, the fleet came across an area densely populated with fishing boats and their nets.
As Cedric Pouligny, skipper of BAE Systems described the high jump manoeuvre they had to perform each time they ran into a net: “Basically you went from 10 knots of speed to zero, then you had to broach and make even more heel before the boat could get off again.” Broaching normally occurs when a boat is overpowered in a gust, the rudder loses control and the boat is forced over on its side, but was necessary on this occasion effectively to lift the keel over the net.Unfortunately the result on this leg was determined by those who got through the fishing nets the fastest.
Speaking following another action-packed leg and night of drama Issa Al Ismaili, Director of Events at the race’s organiser Oman Sail said:“Firstly congratulations to team ASIM who continue to prove best equipped to deal with every challenge the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour offers including on this occasion fishing nets. Obviously such a test at night was not planned for. But that is sailing and this world-class regatta is having to overcome unique challenges on every single leg. Even this leg to Al Hamra at only 53 miles, the second shortest on the race schedules has pushed crews to face the unknown. We’re delighted all have made it safely to Ras Al Khaimah and our preparing themselves for the next round of in-port racing.” After their disappointing result on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai leg yesterday, Marcel Herrera’s University of Plymouth team on Messe Frankfurt had managed to get back in with the lead trio and were into fourth place when they encountered the nets. “I think we hit eight fishing nets – along with every other boat, but the other boats seemed to broach a bit more when they hit them,” said Herrera. “We ploughed through them and managed to get a good technique going so that we didn’t get caught.”Because of this Messe Frankfurt emerged in second place and as the wind dropped subsequently they were closing on first placed AISM as they crossed the finish line at 21:49 (local time), three and a half minutes after Pace’s team. “It makes up for yesterday,” said Herrera.AISM crewman Benoit Briand said that through the day their speed was good and being ahead they had been able to control their opponents before they encountered the fishing nets. “We were lucky that we got over them quite easily, our keel seemed to pass over the nets.”
The AISM team was also pleased that Messe Frankfurt came home second as it puts more distance between themselves and second placed BAE Systems in the overall results. “Bertrand is going to be even more difficult to beat. He is going to be hard to catch,” admitted BAE Systems skipper Cedric Pouligny.One of the most dramatic moments occurred when team BAE Systems and EFG Bank (Monaco) got caught on the same fishing net at the same time and started to get drawn into the middle of the net so that at one point they came very close to colliding, only 2m apart.
Mohsin al Busaidi’s Renaissance came home in fifth place. The Omani skipper, the first sailor from the Middle East to sail non-stop around the world, reckoned that his team had hit maybe seven nets. “We got stuck in the first one. It was a surprise because we were all together and only two boats got stuck and other boats got through.” Al Busaidi’s solution was speed: “If you are going more than 10 knots you can pass it. We stopped once for three or four minutes and at other times we were slowed down from 10 knots to 5 and then we were off again. Fortunately Mohammed in our team is a fisherman…”
Most disappointed last night when they got in was Dee Caffari’s women’s team on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat and Kay Heemskerk’s Dutch team on TU Delft. Having been caught in nets and then further suffering after the wind went light, they finished outside of the time limit and have been scored ‘TLE’ (time limit expired) or seven points for this leg.“It was disappointing that we didn’t get to start until five hours late and then to sail through miles of fishing nets in the dark,” said Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat’s Liz Bayliss, one of two Americans in the all-female team that also includes four Omanis.Their race effectively came to a grinding halt when they got entangled in a fishing net and remained that way for more than an hour. “We hit something and then we got stuck – the fishing boat finally came over to us and cut the net but retrieved both ends of it. There were nets everywhere,” Bayliss continued.
After the late finish the two in-port races are being held today off Al Hamra with the first start attended by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown prince of RAK and commencing at 11.00am.
Competing aboard identical Farr 30 yachts, the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour has attracted nine crews representing five different nations, led locally by Oman’s Team Renaissance, Royal Navy of Oman, Team BAE Systems and the all – female Team Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat. Two teams will compete on behalf of the UAE, Team Abu Dhabi and Team AISM. International crews include EFG Bank (Monaco), Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft (Holland) and the Team Messe Frankfurt (EU).
Taking in four countries and eight ports of call, EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour is a showcase of everything that the Gulf has to offer in terms of state-of-the-art facilities and idyllic sailing conditions Leaving Manama on February 10th, EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour calls at Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Dibba and Mussanah and ends February 25th in Muscat. The racing will include in-port racing at selected locations
Massive Omani celebrations at The Wave, Muscat as Oman Air and The Wave score a one-two, squeezing out the French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had finished every day but the last on top
Going into the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series 2012, the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild led by Pierre Pennec were favourites on paper and few would have predicted the final outcome that saw Morgan Larson’s team on Oman Air triumph in their debut here in Muscat, Oman. Four teams were in contention for the podium going into the final double-points race – the new Danish entry, Team Trifork, won the race, but Oman Air did enough to secure victory after an intense battle with the favourites. Leigh McMillan’s team on The Wave, Muscat muscled their way into the two-way fight and raced brilliantly on the final day to finish 2nd overall ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with Austria’s Roman Hagara (Red Bull) in fourth, having been just one point behind the French going into the final race.
“It’s an amazing feeling! It was a challenging week and obviously our learning curve was quite steep,” said Larson. “But this was really hard racing and any team could have won going into those last couple of races and we were just lucky they went well for us.” Morgan Larson’s team that includes four-time Olympian Charlie Ogletree and Max Bulger from the States, Britain’s Will Howden and Omani Nasser Al Mashari competing in his second Extreme 40 season, held on to a marginal lead from the opening race today but in the fourth race of the day the pressure mounted… Pushed over the line at the start, Oman Air had to restart and trailed the fleet, Larson’s team finished 7th leaving them on equal points with The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 2 points adrift. In the next race, won by Loick Peyron’s team on ZouLou, McMillan’s team finished ahead of their teammates and pulled ahead by 1 point. By the end of the penultimate race the two Oman Sail teams were back on equal points going into the final double-point decider and Pennec’s team had to win the final race with Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat finishing no better than 6th place. It was too tall an order for the French favourites who managed to get ahead of their rivals to finish the race in 2nd but Oman Air crossed the finish line in 3rd to clinch overall victory after 4 days and 29 races.
“Surely I feel disappointed about not having sailed well today,” said Pierre Pennec, skipper, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. “But this is the nature of the sport and even if this sounds strange, I feel very happy about this week’s competition. I really enjoyed being on the water and despite the fact that this is my fourth year in the Extreme Sailing Series, we have learned a lot in these last few days. My new crew sailed here for the first time and they have shown great human, mental and technical potential. I think it’s fantastic that the two top crews here in Muscat are the local teams. They are going to be seriously competitive this season.”
It proved to be a thrilling opening Act to the season and, after five years of Extreme Sailing Series competition, there is a feeling that 2012 is going to be one of the closest yet. “It’s up to us to catch up and be competitive in China because the goal is to win overall. Third is still a good result – it could be worse! It’s a warning for us,” said Hervé Cunningham, tactician Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Next stop China – Act 2, Qingdao 17th-20th April.
Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 4, 29 races (2.3.12)
Position / Team / Points
1st Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 165 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 159 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 155 points
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 148 points
5th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 138 points
6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 111 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 109 points
8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 95 points
Quotes from the sailors:
Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “It’s an amazing feeling! It was a challenging week and obviously our learning curve was quite steep. But this was really hard racing and any team could have won going into those last couple of races and we were just lucky they went well for us. I’m sure there was a bit of beginner’s luck to this one and we just dug in and focused hard but I know its going to be a challenging season and we’ll get tougher conditions thrown at us and for sure we’re going to have to eat a few of them and we’re just need to keep enjoying the sailing as I think that was the key to our success working together. We knew if we held our position things would be good but in these boats you never know what can happen so you just have to keep on pushing all the way to the finish.”
Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “All day long – we had some really great races, posted a win and some second places, but we couldn’t get away as they all just putting in good results as well. It was really tight and we’re very happy to get second, it came down to a very close light wind race and we got sucked in to a fight mid-fleet and Oman Air got away. But we’re really happy they got their win and it’s great for Oman as a whole.”
Hervé Cunningham, tactician, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Some days you have days like this when nothing comes your way. I’m not looking for excuses but on board today nothing comes our way, it’s not working, bad rhythm, you just wake up a feel like something is wrong and it just shows on the water. The result was not good – few OCS’, too many penalties and lack of confidence because the team is old but it is a new crew. Hats off to Oman Air and The Wave. I understand that we are favourites but inside the team it is a new crew so there is no miracle, we are not as good as we were last year and the other guys have done better than us. They managed to sail at a higher level than us so its up to us to catch up and be competitive in China because the goal is to win overall. Third is still a good result – it could be worse! It’s a warning for us – it’s not going to be easy this year.”
Pierre Pennec, skipper, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Surely I feel disappointed about not having sailed well today, but this is the nature of the sport and even if this sounds strange, I feel very happy about this week’s competition. I really enjoyed being on the water and despite the fact that this is my fourth year in the Extreme Sailing Series, we have learned a lot in these last few days. My new crew sailed here for the first time and they have shown great human, mental and technical potential. I think it’s fantastic that the two top crews here in Muscat are the local teams. They are going to be seriously competitive this season.”
Ian Williams, skipper, GAC Pindar: “We’re a bit disappointed with the overall result of 5th as I think maybe we deserve better. We were way off the pace on day two and those were the 20 points we gave away to pretty much everybody and after that it was very tough to get back.”
Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “The team did a good job but we had a few problems with communications and boat handling. We always worked hard in the races and came up from the back for the last race was not the best for us in the end but that’s the sport.”
Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper, Alinghi: “It was fantastic, fantastic. For me it’s great, a different format but I learnt so much every day, every race, it’s what I’m here for. I’m here to experience something different, something the excitement of this format and I really enjoyed myself. It’s close, it’s not very different from a normal regatta, it’s just that everything happens so much faster. In a normal regatta you have close contact or tactical situation with a boat maybe every 10 minutes, here it is every 15 seconds!”
Fighting talk on the dockside, find out what the sailors expectations are ahead of the first day of racing for 2012 A new team in the form of Team Trifork from Denmark can finally be unveiled today as the 8th team in the starting blocks for the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2012 in Muscat, Oman. The team will be co-skippered by Jes Gram-Hansen on helm and Rasmus Kostner, tactician, who both come from a World Match Racing Tour and America’s Cup background, alongside the youngest member of the team, 26-year-old Jonas Hviid-Nielsen on bow combined with the Extreme 40 race experience of Pete Cummings (skipper of the winning Extreme 40 team in 2009) and Simon Hiscocks from the UK. It has been a long journey for the Danish team that began a year ago as Jes Gram-Hansen explained: “Rasmus and myself went into different sailing programmes like RC44 and Farr 40 after the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia but all the time our dream was to create our own team. We analysed what kind of circuit would be the one to go with, and with the changes to the America’s Cup and the Extreme Sailing Series being more and more the series to be in, we decided to try and build a team for the Extreme Sailing Series. So we invested all our money into buying a boat a year ago and then we spent most of the year in Denmark taking out business people from companies to show them what we love and what we think would be a good way to be involved in the project. We have long-support from Trifork (a software company) which we have in been a good relationship over the years along with our clothing partner, Simon Spurr, to help get us here to the start line in Muscat.” The team’s expectations are as you would expect for the ‘newbies’ to the tour: “We have a lot of respect for the guys who have been on the tour and some of them have sailed multihulls for a long time,” continued Jens. “We’re here to learn and I’m sure we will make some mistakes but we’ve got two great English guys with us, Simon Hiscocks and Pete Cummings, so, hopefully, they will keep us out of trouble! Hopefully, we’ll improve over the season with a longer term goal of overall victory in a couple of years time.”
After various stints of team training up the Omani coast at Massanah, the racing starts for real tomorrow, Tuesday, 28th February, in Muscat. The live race coverage will start at 1130 GMT on Wednesday (29th Feb), streaming on Thursday (1st March) and Friday (2nd March). Glamour conditions expected and the sailors are talking it up on the dockside…
Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “We’re starting with a new team here with 2 new crew members – new bowman, Graham Spence from Australia and an amateur sailor from France, Pierre, sailing as our 5th sailor for this event – so we’re looking forward it. We did some good training in Massanah and we’re ready for the first Act. We’ve capsized here before on the Asia Tour (09/10) then last year we made it to the podium. Our goal here is to make to the podium again.”
Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “We’re looking forward to having some fun with the new team and doing really well. We’ve gelled really well with Will, Charlie, Nasser and Max so I think we’ve got a really good team. The competition is the highest it’s been in a while I think but I think we’ve got some great sailors on board and we’re expecting to be up at the front every race!”
Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “I think we’re in pretty good shape and we’ve done some good training races but we haven’t raced in anger against any of these guys yet. We hope to get on the podium and start the season well. I think on paper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild maybe favourites but we hope that by the time we get to the end of the season we’ll be challenging for overall victory.”
Loick Peyron, helmsman, ZouLou: “I’m happy to be back here after a couple of years… We are here with a new team, good friends, good sailors although we have not raced together and we have only trained for 3 days which is not nearly enough. But the game is so interesting and so exciting, and I think it will be more ‘open’ than last year. We will be quite safe – I am fast but not furious! Tanguy Cariou, Tactician, Alinghi: “We all know the stadium racing is a very different game and we will have some good races and some bad ones! We made two training sessions with Ernesto in Massanah. I would say it is a new boat for him, a new format but we are used to sailing together on the D35 on the lake. There are new faces, new people and not all the teams have had the same level of training – I’m pretty sure that in Qingdao and Istanbul the strong teams will emerge but for the first event I’m not so sure, it’s a shakedown.”
21 Olympians, 36 AC campaigns, 7 circumnavigations, 47 World Championship wins – all-star 9 nation lineup for Extreme Sailing Series 2012
With less than two weeks to go until the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Muscat, Oman, the Act 1 team line-ups have been confirmed, revealing a stellar cast of top professional sailors. Following the final event of 2011 in Singapore last December, the team managers and skippers have spent the last two months securing the best crews possible to help take them to overall victory in 2012.
Once again, the team rosters include world-renowned sailors from a multitude of backgrounds representing 9 different nationalities. French sailing superstar Loick Peyron, Britain’s three-times ISAF World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams, Austria’s double-Olympic Gold medalist Roman Hagara return to the circuit, whilst American double-Olympic Gold medalist Charlie Ogletree and five-times America’s Cup sailor, Bernard Labro from France are two new faces gracing the roll-call. The teams boast an array of Olympic, America’s Cup, match racing and round the world credentials, as well as a sprinkling of ocean racing record setters. The two key cornerstones for success in this highly competitive circuit are experience and consistency and to this end 2011 runners-up Groupe Edmond de Rothschild from France and the Swiss team of Alinghi are keeping their crew changes to a minimum, whilst the two Oman Sail teams are sporting a near new line-up with only Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their places. And there are plenty of new team combinations for this season to spice up the competition!
4 Gold Medalists + 1 Silver
36 America’s Cup campaigns
47 World Championships
28 European Championships
7 round the world circumnavigations
A new team for the year is ZouLou who will have the current superstar of sailing, Loick Peyron at the helm for Acts 1–3 prior to team owner Erik Maris taking over. One of France’s most well-known sporting exports and a legendary multihull expert who recently shaved almost 3 days off the non-stop round the world Jules Verne record, Peyron will return to the Extreme Sailing Series. In 2010 he was the skipper and helm of 4th place Oman Sail Masirah.
Peyron contrasts his recent experiences: “I can’t wait to go back to the Extreme Sailing Series with ZouLou crew, and especially to Muscat where I already spent a few weeks with the local team in 2009 and 2010. After two round the world tours in one year [Barcelona World Race and Jules Verne] I am really looking forward to going back to this intense racing amongst these top level crews.“
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has retained their core team of Pierre Pennec on helm and Hervé Cunningham introducing two new faces on bow in the form of Bernard Labro and Jean-Christophe Mourniac who raced for another team in Singapore last December. The Swiss team Alinghi will be helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli supported by the regular Extreme 40 Alinghi crew including Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey. Meanwhile, the renowned Austrian duo of Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher on the Red Bull Sailing Team have confirmed that Matthew Adams will be part of the regular racing crew and introduce ‘newbie’ Graeme Spence on bow who makes the step from shore team to race team.
GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams has gone the extra mile to secure a crew who can race with him for the season: “We have assembled a really strong team this year with a great mix of different skill sets. The only real opportunities to practice will be before the first event in Oman and before Act 5 in Cardiff so having a consistent team will be crucial to improving from event to event.” His crew includes Mark Ivey, Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot and Andrew Walsh – all have raced with GAC Pindar for at least one event in 2011 – and this combination will be integral in continuing their upward trend on the leaderboard.
The Oman Sail teams of The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air return this year with only Olympic Tornado sailor Leigh McMillan and Nasser Al Mashari retaining their roles from last year. McMillan who skippered The Wave, Muscat into fourth place overall in 2011, has handpicked a team that includes previous Extreme 40 sailors Ed Smyth from the USA, Pete Greenhalgh who with his brother Rob won the inaugural 2007 Extreme Sailing Series, and they will be joined by newcomer Omani sailor Hashim Al Rashdi who has come up through the Oman Sail programme.
Oman Air, will be led by record setting America’s Cup sailor Morgan Larson: “I’ve followed the Extreme Sailing Series since its conception and to now be competing on the tour with such a talented group of competitors is a dream come true.” The team that last year had 3 different skippers including Britain’s Olympic star Ben Ainslie, will benefit from the Extreme 40 experience of Olympic sailor Will Howden and Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari who raced in 2011 with Oman Air on bow, whilst double Olympic gold medalist Charlie Ogletree brings a fresh skill set.
In a test aimed at keeping opportunities open for new talent, the teams will race Act 1 with five sailors rather than four, plus a VIP guest or media person when appropriate. This additional 5th sailor must be either female or under 23, or be classified as an amateur by ISAF. Both The Wave and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will sail with female sailors as a result – Rachel Williamson and Adeline Chatelet respectively – the first girls to race since Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson skippered ‘iShares’ in 2009.
An 8th team for Muscat is still to be announced.
The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ now in its sixth year will be staged in Cardiff the capital of Wales between the 24-27 August, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.
The Extreme 40 catamarans, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.
Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.
“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”
Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.
“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”
The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).
As we enter the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.
2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April*
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December
Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April as previously communicated
It came down to the wire in the final double points race to determine the podium places of Act 8 in Almeria. Going into the final race the Swiss team of Alinghi were in a strong position to claim overall victory, only a major faux pas would have prevented what was rightfully theirs after such a strong performance over the last five days and 32 races. In the end, Tanguy Cariou’s team on Alinghi secured victory by one of the biggest points margins of 22 points over Italy’s Luna Rossa in 2nd place: “We are really happy to have at least one win this year,” said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. “We tried to manage the risks today, we had good boat speed and good team work. It is great for us to have a win here, I am really happy for Yann and the whole crew. It is really good to show the teams that we can make it.”
However, the fight for second was by the closest of margins with Luna Rossa holding off Ben Ainslie’s Oman Air by just one point: “For me it was my first experience of multihull racing and I have learnt a huge amount, which for me is probably more important to me personally than the end result,” said Ainslie. “To finish on the podium for the second time in three events is a great team effort. It is a very high level of competition and when you look at the people on board the other boats, they are all extremely accomplished sailors. They are fighting for every inch and with the type of racing that we do it ends up being very tight as the races are so short, and invariably you end up with collisions and action creating some exciting racing! It’s been fantastic sailing with the team. Now it’s time for me to get focused on the Olympics.”
Almeria has for the last two years hosted the final of the Extreme Sailing Series championship. This year the Spanish round, attended by an estimated audience just shy of 70,000 spectators, has set the stage for the final in Singapore between the 7th-11th December. And it is Max Sirena’s team who now lead the overall 2011 rankings by just one point: “We now have a month before the boats get to Singapore and to be in the lead for that month is fantastic,” said Luna Rossa helmsman, Britain’s Paul Campbell-James. “It’s good to have the mental advantage of being in the lead going into the final Act.”
Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar scored their best ever result of 2011 with a 4th place here in Almeria, stealing it from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the final upwind beat in the final race. It was a tough day for the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had been in contention for the podium throughout the event. But Pierre Pennec’s team is still in the game for the Extreme Sailing Series ultimate victory – on 68 points for the season with Luna Rossa on 69. Emirates Team New Zealand was given redress after yesterday’s crash and maintained 6th place ahead of double-Act winner The Wave, Muscat. Leigh McMillan’s team were struggling to find their form in the light air Acts. Red Bull Extreme Sailing also had a tough end of regatta – Roman Hagara’s crew still had everything to play for, lying in 8th overall, going into the final race but it was not to be.
The points have never been tighter and the final positions can be harsher looking than the reality of the competition. Whilst the frontrunners held their own private battle for the podium, it allowed others to shine through here on the final day. Alex Schneiter’s debut in the Extreme 40 circuit was rewarded with two race wins today, and they ended Act 8 in a respectable 9th place, four points ahead of Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme and Alberto Barovier’s Niceforyou team on 135 points, his team enjoying a morale-boosting race win in the penultimate race.
But the applause goes to skipper Tanguy Cariou, helmsman Yann Guichard, trimmer Nils Frei and bowman Yves Detrey for Alinghi’s victory in Almeria – their first win of the season. Luna Rossa is now top the season’s leaderboard and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will push them to the limit in Singapore. And there will be a very tight fight behind them for third place, with six teams able to fill that podium place for the 2011 season. Singapore will be a great battle!
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 32 races (16.10.11)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 254 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 233 points
3rd Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 232 points
4th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 218 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 216 points
6th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 213.5 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 209points
8th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 202 points
9th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 155 points
10th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 151 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 135 points
Extreme Sailing Series 2011
Overall standings after 8 Acts
Position / Team / Points
1st Luna Rossa 69 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 68 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand 60 points
4th Alinghi 59 points
5th The Wave, Muscat 57 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 53 points
7th Artemis Racing 48 points
8th Oman Air 47 points
9th Team GAC Pindar 29 points
10th Niceforyou 18 points
11th Team Extreme 18 points
ISAF World Match Racing Champion, Ian Williams, has helmed Team GAC Pindar to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of Act 8 in Almeria. This is the first time his team has ever led the overall standings in the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series global tour. The third day of the penultimate round in Spain, ahead of the final in Singapore, saw three different teams take the lead throughout the afternoon. Five races were completed today – two in open water and three inside the port of Almeria in stadium mode. Ben Ainslie helming Oman Air went into day 3 leading but nothing seemed to go there way today, and Emirates Team New Zealand pounced with Adam Beashel’s team taking the top spot after the first race held in open water in a reasonable sea breeze. The Kiwis fended their position, despite not scoring a race win and losing a crew overboard in the second race, whilst Alinghi and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild dominated at the front with two wins for the Swiss team and a victory for the French. But always in the background was Team GAC Pindar sailing strongly – a 4th, 5th, then a second, gaining their momentum until they were on equal points with Emirates Team New Zealand at the top. Tanguy Cariou’s team, driven by Yann Guichard, won the second stadium race in light airs and leap-frogged into the lead. Going into the final stadium race of the day, Alinghi and Team GAC Pindar were on 89 points each and further down the leaderboard the points situation could not have been closer with only 1 or 2 points separating the top 8 boats in a tactical game of snakes and ladders throughout the afternoon. The faltering sea breeze seemed to recognize the importance of the final day’s race and revived itself to allow the boats to show a good turn of speed on the short course. The Wave, Muscat and Team Tilt got a flying start ahead of Team GAC Pindar whilst Alinghi got stuck mid-fleet off the start, and that was that. Wiliams’ team was away and never looked back, 3rd place enough to take the lead going into the penultimate day of Act 8 tomorrow: “It was a really good day for us and we finished on the top half of every single race today,” said Williams. “For sure we will be fighting to try to retain the lead. Looking at the points it’s almost like a restart. We were 20 points behind last night and now we are 2 points ahead the second boat. It’s extremely tight, we will going down to the wire!” The weekend crowd is in for a treat as the forecast is showing a significant turning up of the wind speed dial for tomorrow and on Sunday the final battle will be played out to determine who wins in Almeria, and who will lead the 2011 Championship rankings going into the final Act. “Obviously with only two days to go we know by experience that anything can happen,” said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. “We’re happy with that position tonight but we know that it will be even harder to keep it than to get it…” He is right about that – the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, the Italians on Luna Rossa, the Kiwis on Emirates Team New Zealand and the Brits on Team GAC Pindar will be fighting them all the way…
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 14 races (14.10.11) Position / Team / Points
1st Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 98 points
2nd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 95 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 93 points
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 90 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 88 points
6th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 85 points
7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 84 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 80 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 70 points
10th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 62 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 59 points