Three-time champions Alinghi dominated on the racetrack today, Wednesday 14th March, in the first day of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series™.
Having lost out to Danish syndicate SAP Extreme Sailing Team last year, the Swiss team dominated from race one, determined to prove themselves straight off the start line.
Consistent sailing across four races saw the experienced Alinghi crew finish within the top two on each occasion. The team’s helm – Arnaud Psarofaghis – explained that they set out to start the season as they mean to go on.
“Our goal this morning was to begin the season well. The fleet is really strong so every race is going to be important this year. We’re going to talk about why we didn’t win all of the races tonight,” he said with a broad smile.
Racing off the coast of Muscat, Oman, the fleet of high speed foiling GC32 catamarans navigated difficult conditions on the racecourse. Light, shifty winds made for tricky competition, with the second race of the day abandoned due to the weather.
Sailing on home waters, the conditions didn’t faze Oman Air as they battled Alinghi for the top spot throughout the day. Leading the fleet for the first half of race one, the Omani team – consisting of seasoned Series professionals – made best use of their knowledge of the stunning waters off the Muscat coastline.
“It was great to be racing on home waters – we know them well,” said Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari. “When the Omani crowds come out and watch us, it definitely makes us stronger. There’s still three more days to go, we’ll just keep pushing and pushing.”
The Omani team finished second in today’s rankings.
Fighting to defend their 2017 title, SAP Extreme Sailing Team climbed the ranks with each race. Having started the first race with an OCS [over the starting line early], the team needed to make serious progress on the course in the remaining races. Leaning on their long Series experience, the Danish outfit scored a third place finish overall and the team is now hot on the heels of main opponent Alinghi.
“We got the OCS out of the way early. If you’re not over the line at least once, you’re never pushing the line hard enough,” explained helm Adam Minoprio. “It cost us a lot, but we were generally fighting in amongst the fleet. We’ve shown that we’re in the mix, we’re pushing hard and we’re not holding back.”
With the wind expected to pick up as the week progresses, the competition looks set to heat up even more. GC32 racing continues tomorrow, Thursday 15th March at 14:00 local time (UTC+4). Will Alinghi assert their dominance on the racetrack once more? It’s all eyes on them.
Over on the Flying Phantom racecourse, Team France Jeune topped the leaderboard, finishing in the top two in five out of six of their races. Antoine Rucard, crew for the team, commented on their victory: “We’re in the lead after sailing in only six knots of wind. We’ve been strong on the first day and we’ll be strong on the others.”
Racing is set to continue for the Flying Phantom teams from 10:00 local time (UTC+4) tomorrow.
Results after Day 1:
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 1: (4 races)
- Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey – 46 points.
- Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari – 42 points.
- SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Julius Hallström, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason – 38 points.
- Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Will Alloway, Leigh McMillan, Oli Greber, Adam Kay, Mark Spearman – 33 points.
- Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Chris Draper, Ed Powys, Neil Hunter, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara – 33 points.
- NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Jason Waterhouse, Will Tiller, Harry Hull, Luke Payne, Guy Endean – 32 points.
- Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps, Danel Belausteguigoitia – 28 points.
Flying Phantom Series Act 1: (6 races)
- Team France Jeune (FRA) Solune Robert, Antoine Rucard – 114 points.
- Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Olivia Mackay, Micah Wilkinson – 111 points.
- Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) Charles Hainneville, Pierre-Yves Durand – 107 points.
- Culture Foil (FRA) Nicolas Ferellec, Théo Constance – 102 points.
- Flying Frogs (FRA) Pierre Le Clainche, Arnaud Vasseur – 94 points.
- UON (POR) José Cladeira, Helder Basilio – 89 points.
- EVO Visian ICL (GER) Raphael Neuhann, Elias Neuhann – 89 points.
- Masterlan (CZE) David Krizek, Zdenek Adam – 86 points.
Team Oman Air make their mark in Muscat with strong start to Extreme Sailing Series (from Oman Sail)
The Oman Air team have put down a marker at the start of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, taking the fight to their opposition in the opening races of what is set to be a long and highly competitive season.
Making the most of the home waters off Al Mouj, the crew came out of the blocks at speed to take a solid second place in the first race, though they then saw a commanding and winning performance count for nothing when the second race started was abandoned.
The light and at times fickle breeze saw only four races completed, with Oman Air taking a win in the final one to end the first of four days in Muscat in second place overall.
“The wind was pretty tricky, and conditions were really right on the limit for racing,” said the team’s veteran British mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh. “We were able to take a few boats when we needed to and converted what was potentially quite an average day into a pretty good day, so we are very, very pleased.”
Alinghi – Extreme Sailing Series champions in 2016 and runners-up last year – had a consistent opening day to top the table on 46 points, with Oman Air just four behind and a further four in front of reigning Danish champions, SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
“Finishing the day second gives us a really solid foundation to go forward from, and if a few things go our way we will be able to overcome Alinghi,” added Greenhalgh.
“We are sailing well and I am happy with the teamwork and speed we have, so roll on some more races. We were leading the first race but let Alinghi slip by, and then won the second but it timed out – as it happened we were first and Alinghi were last, so if it had stood we would be looking at a different set of results, but that’s sailing!”
Oman Air started the season with a slightly changed crew, with skipper and helmsman Phil Robertson, regular James Wierzbowski, Greenhalgh and star Omani racer Nasser Al Mashari joined by New Zealander Stewart Dodson aboard the high-speed foiling GC32 catamaran.
After several successful training days in the Sultanate, however, the new team has come together as one.
“It has been going very well and our crew work has been very good,” said Al Mashari. “It has been great to welcome Stewart to the team, and he has plenty of Extreme Sailing Series experience to share and contribute.
“We had very good wind during our training in Muscat, so now everyone in the fleet is hoping that we get more breeze and better conditions over the next three days,” he added.
Racing off Al Mouj, Muscat continues for the next three days, and a Race Village will be open for free public access at Al Mouj Golf on Friday and Saturday for the conclusion of the Extreme Sailing Series action.
by Extreme Sailing Series