2017 Extreme Sailing Series: SAP Extreme team leads, Oman Air placed third
The curtains went up on the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) on Wednesday in Muscat with nine teams competing in seven coastal races off the Muttrah coast.
With a racecourse set against the stunning backdrop of Muttrah Port and the imposing mountains, the boats battled hard over fast-paced races.
The Danish-flagged team SAP Extreme Sailing Team came out of the blocks, firing winning the opening races and then taking two more race wins to end the day with 69 points.
It holds a narrow one-point lead over Red Bull Sailing Team, which won the third race of the day and had three third-place finishes.
The local team, Oman Air, under new skipper Phil Robertson had four podium finishes, including a victory in the penultimate race of the day to take third place with 65 points.
Defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland was a close fourth with 64 points after three runner-up finishes.
With only four points separating the top four teams, Thursday's stadium-format racing at Al Mouj Golf is expected to be an exciting affair. The four-day Act 1 of the eight-leg series will conclude on Saturday.
“It was an awfully tough day for us, we were a bit behind the eight-ball all day and we never really found our groove,” said Oman Air skipper and helmsman Robertson.
“Conditions were changing quite fast, so we were always on the back foot and we were struggling to keep up. We managed to pull it together a little bit at the end and put a string of podiums together,” he added. Robertson's crew comprises experienced sailors - Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth and Omani bowman Nasser al Mashari.
Mashari said, “Our boat handling was pretty good but we can improve in the days ahead. It was the first day of the event, so we’re pretty happy so far with third.”
Results [day one]: 1 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (69 points), 2 Red Bull Sailing Team (68), 3 Oman Air (65), 4 Alinghi (64), 5 Team ENGIE (57), 6 Tawera Racing (54), 7 Team Tilt (54), 8 NZL Sailing Team (39), 9 Land Rover BAR Academy (35).