The first event of the 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series begins in Muscat Oman this weekend where the current overall leaders, Emirates Team New Zealand, will be looking to continue their dominance on the water in the one-design foiling AC45 class.
It’s the middle of winter in Oman, yet temperatures are topping 30 degrees celsius and the wind is forecast to be very light for the next few days beginning with practice racing today and points racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Having had some time to adjust after the long flight north from Auckland skipper Glenn Ashby said “It sure is an interesting place here in Muscat, but more interesting will be the racing over the next few days. It is certainly going to be on the lighter side of the scale. The current forecast has the breeze peaking at 12 knots over the weekend, so the style of racing and the techniques and tactics are going to be more like what we saw in Gothenburg than in Bermuda, less foiling and more traditional light wind multi hull sailing.”
Gothenburg of course was where Ashby and crew dominated the fleet in the light conditions of the double points final day racing, which hopefully is a good sign for the kiwi team.
“With the forecast, and our result in Gothenburg, and leading the series overall you know the other teams are going to be watching us closely and the targets will be on our backs, but if they are looking at the targets on our backs then it means they are behind us so that's just fine with me,” said Ashby
“In saying that, all of the other teams are incredibly strong and light conditions can be incredibly tricky and cruel so all of us on the boat, Ray, Peter, Blair, Guy and myself are going to have to be right on our game if we are wanting to finish this event still on top of the leaderboard, which obviously is our main priority this weekend.”
Practise racing starts today directly in front of the stunning Almouj Golf Course, followed by a scheduled three races on Saturday and three crucial double points races on Sunday.
Racing will be LIVE on Sky Sports NZ on Pop Up channel 055.
Saturday 27th LIVE at 11pm NZT
Sunday 28th LIVE at 11pm NZT
The Emirates Team New Zealand crew is:
Skipper / Wing Trimmer: Glenn Ashby
Helmsman: Peter Burling
Tactician: Ray Davies
Trimmer: Blair Tuke
Grinder: Guy Endean
Emirates Team New Zealand: 122 points
Oracle: 112 points
Land Rover BAR: 109 points
Artemis: 105 points
Softbank Team Japan: 100 points
Groupama Team France: 82 points