After the sizzling success of winning the European championship, now Oman Sail Masirah is crowned champion of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia. It was a great victory on their home soil and it went to the wire with Masirah winning the final race of the Muscat event to clinch both the regatta title and take the Extreme Sailing Series Asia crown.
Billed locally as ‘Oman Sail versus The World’ the Omani team came out on top in style. The Wave, Muscat and China Team completed the podium in 2nd and 3rd also for the regatta and overall. As the local crowds gathered on Al-Hail beach for the final day of the ‘Extreme Beach Party’ in Muscat, racing got underway with two rounds of ‘speed runs’. The reefed Extreme 40s relished these high-speed conditions courtesy of the 20+ knots of north-westerly wind, and flew down the windward/leeward course flying the hulls in front of the packed VIP platform.
His Highness Sayyid Shahab bin Tariq Al Said, Advisor to His Majesty, His Excellency Maqbool bin Ali bin Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha bint Abdulameer bin Ali, Minister of Tourism, joined the VIP guests on the platform for the start of the final race.
At the start of the fifth and final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event there were a few worried and tense looking sailors on the dockside – the wind was blowing over 20 knots and the anticipation of some tense battles ahead only heightened the stakes. Thierry Barot’s China Team and Paul Campbell-James and the crew on The Wave, Muscat were on equal points at the start of racing with Masirah just one point behind and it was clear this was where the battle for the podium would be taking place. Red Bull Extreme Sailing who suffered a capsize the day before the final races were just one point ahead of Nick Moloney’s BT, whilst Shirley Robinson on Rumbo Almeria knew she could play catch up if things went in her favour. The scene was set for an awesome display of Extreme racing.
In the end, only just enough wind remained to propel the boats over the line. After the victory, Pete Cumming, the skipper of Masirah, takes up the story: “We’re quite a heavy crew so when the wind went right down, we had a disadvantage since the guys on The Wave are light and very quick.” Never the less Masirah went into the lead to win the final race and clinch victory in Muscat. “It’s everything we worked for and hoped for! We’ve seen the fleet get stronger and stronger and every event and push us harder and harder in every race. You can never underestimate the competition- that’s what makes the Extreme Sailing Series Asia this unique and exciting.”
The first ever Extreme Sailing Series Asia is a three-event Asian tour and has seen many familiar faces from the European tour, such as, double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson, solo round the world skipper Nick Moloney and European Champion Pete Cumming, whilst newcomers Thierry Barot on China Team and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing have gone from a ‘standing start’ to put in an awesome performance, pushing the more seasoned racers all the way. The Asian circuit kicked off in Hong Kong, then Singapore before ending here in Muscat at a full public event:
“It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategies. I really believe it is the future of sailing,” said China Team skipper Thierry Barot. “This is what sailing needs in term of development - the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself.”
Extreme Sailing Series Asia- Muscat1st Oman Sail Masirah, 103 points2nd The Wave, Muscat, 101 points3rd China Team, 91 points4th BT, 84 points5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 71 points6th Rumbo Almeria, 70 points
Overall Series Winner:1st Masirah, 18 points2nd The Wave, Muscat, 11 points3rd China Team, 11 points4th BT, 10 points5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 8 points6th Rumbo Almeria, 5 points