Extreme Sailing Series™ heads to the Middle East for Act 2, Muscat
- 13th March 2014
- One week to go until Act 2, Muscat where the fleet will take to an all-new stadium at Almouj Golf Course.
- High-profile crew changes for GAC Pindar and Red Bull Sailing Team, as Olympic champion Anna Tunnicliffe returns to Act 1 winners Alinghi.
- Watch the Stadium Racing live on the official event website from Thursday 20 March, 1530-1700 local time / 1130-1300 GMT / 1230-1430 CET
- For a taste of what’s to come, watch the pre-event promo video here.
With just one week to go on the EDOX countdown clock before the action continues on the Extreme 40 stadium racecourse, the 11 international teams and their crews of elite level sailors, are preparing to return to the Sultanate of Oman for a fourth consecutive year. The fleet will race at a stunning new venue, the Almouj Golf Course at The Wave, Muscat, from 19th March, for four days of intense competition, under the warmth of the Arabian sun on the home turf of the two Oman Sail entries, Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat.
The 11 international teams dispersed after the opening Act in Singapore, and their carbon-fibre catamarans were shipped from the Far East to the Middle East, transported by Logistics Partner GAC Pindar. The teams have used the short break to analyse their Act 1 performances, and one man hoping to improve on his team’s fifth place in Singapore is Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama sailing team. “We work with our coach Thierry Péponnet who analyses each of the races and this allows us to improve at every level including starts, mark rounding and manoeuvres. We also use the analytics provided by SAP. It is very interesting because this allows us to learn more about our competitors and about ourselves. The level of competition is high but we are in the game too, even though we recognise we need to progress if we want to be in the position to win.” Fans can follow the racing during Act 2 Muscat, through SAP’s dynamic leaderboards, here.
The Australian team on GAC Pindar have been riding on the crest of a wave since their Extreme 40 debut in Singapore, with the Team Australia announcement of a home-grown crew as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, including GAC Pindar’s Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Troy Tindill and Ed Smyth. The Act in Singapore was a baptism of fire for the Australian team, and Jarvin, who last weekend won the his sixth JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff championship title, effectively the world championship for the class, alongside Newton, acknowledged they have a steep learning curve ahead. “The racing was super tough in Singapore. We struggled with starting and on those short courses starting is critical. Consistency is the key we were probably pushing the boundaries in a lot of areas. I think we could have been a lot more conservative.” David Gilmour, son of Australian sailing legend Peter Gilmour who is also the youngest skipper to hold a card for the Alpari World match racing tour, will join GAC Pindar in Muscat for his Stadium Racing debut.
The line up at the top of the leaderboard comes as no surprise after the shakedown of Act 1, with three of the most experienced teams staking an early claim. One new entry for 2014 hoping to topple the old order is Emirates team New Zealand, who lost out on a podium position in Singapore by the smallest of margins in the final race. The team’s mainsail trimmer, Glenn Ashby, whose enviable CV includes 14 World Championship titles across three multihull classes, as well as a silver medal in the Tornado class from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, assessed the team’s performance. “As a whole, we felt that we sailed a mostly consistent event in Singapore and were in touch with the top three positions from the start of the regatta. This was nice considering our three-year absence from the Extreme 40 circuit.” Looking ahead to Muscat, Ashby continued: “Obviously the teams that have been putting the effort in the pre-season are shining and sailing very well. This makes it a great challenge and the racing IS very tough which is exactly what we want - tough racing, be put in tough positions and have to work extremely hard around the track for good results. Consistency will be the key factor in success at Muscat. The sailing last time we were in Muscat in 2011 was fantastic and we are really looking forward to getting back there for some great racing. Our expectations are high for a great result and make the podium.” Read more from Glenn Ashby here.
Historically, the home grown Omani teams have triumphed on their native soil, with The Wave, Muscat taking victory at the Muscat Act in 2013, and Oman Air clinching the win in 2012, then skippered by Morgan Larson. One team in particular that are determined to upset the local’s historic winning streak is Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss-flagged Alinghi. The Act 1 winners will be riding on a high, following their resounding victory at the 2014 curtain raiser in Singapore. Morgan Larson will remain in the driving seat as acting skipper, and the America’s Cup winning team will welcome the return of Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe as tactician – a position she frequented in 2013. A two-times ISAF World Sailor of the year, Tunnicliffe commented: “I'm very excited to be back. The racing I saw in Singapore looked intense! The calibre of sailing talent is some of the best in the world and I look forward to being there.”
Other significant crew changes include Kiwi Stewart Dodson, runner up in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup who last year sailed with GAC Pindar, and who now joins Red Bull Sailing Team, whilst Realteam will continue their squad rotation programme bringing in Bryan Mettraux as headsail trimmer.
SAP Extreme Sailing Team came away from Act 1 disappointed after being unable to turn their pre-season training into a result on the water finishing tenth, in what co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen described as “one of the most mentally challenging racecourses in the world”, but the team is determined to put things right in Muscat. “We know where we should be ranked and aim to climb back into position in Oman. Now we are back in Europe and preparing for the next event. We are determined to shake off the mental stress of ever changing conditions in Marina Bay, Singapore, and fight back in Muscat and move up the leaderboard.” Read more from Gram-Hansen, here. Three other teams hoping to take some key learnings away from the Singapore Act and turn them into results in Muscat are J.P. Morgan BAR, Gazprom Team Russia and Oman Air who finished seventh to ninth respectively.
The fleet will race in stadium mode for four days, and fans around the globe can watch the racing live online on the official event website at the following times: Thursday 20-Saturday 22: 1530-1700 local time / 1130-1300 GMT / 1230-1430 CET
Extreme Sailing Series, Act 2 Muscat, crew lists
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)
Tactician: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Dean Barker (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Glenn Ashby (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: James Dagg (NZL)
Bowman: Jeremy Lomas (NZL)
Floater: Edwin Delaat (NZL)
GAC Pindar (AUS)
Skipper/Helm: Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Troy Tindill (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (AUS)
Bowmen: Sam Newton (AUS)/David Gilmour (AUS)
Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Alister Richardson (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Pete Cumming (GBR)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)
Groupama sailing team (FRA)
Skipper/Helm: Franck Cammas (FRA)
Tactician: Sophie de Turckheim (FRA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Thierry Fouchier (FRA)
Bowman: Devan Le Bihan (FRA)
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
Skipper/Helm: Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Tactician: Nick Hutton (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Paul Goodison (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Pippa Wilson (GBR)
Bowman: Matt Cornwell (GBR)
Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Tom Johnson (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: Will Howden (GBR)
Bowmen: Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) /Musab Al Hadi (OMA)
Skipper/Mainsail Trimmer: Jérôme Clerc (SUI)
Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Headsail Trimmer: Bryan Mettraux (SUI)
Bowman: Thierry Wasem (SUI)
Floater: Nils Palmieri (SUI)
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician/Mainsail Trimmer: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Headsail Trimmer: Mark Bulkeley (GBR)
Bowman: Nick Blackman (NZL)
Floater: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skippers: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) / Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Trimmers: Thierry Douillard (FRA)/Peter Wibroe (DEN)
Bowman: Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Kinley Fowler (NZL)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)
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