Drama struck on the water on Friday in Muscat as two of the season's newly-formed crews collided on the racecourse on the third day of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series™.
NZ Extreme Sailing Team and Red Bull Sailing Team collided at the leeward mark on the fourth race of the day while locked in an epic struggle in the closing stages of the race.
Although no crew members were injured, significant damage was sustained to the rudders on both boats, forcing the challengers to retire from today's racing. Chris Draper, helm for Red Bull Sailing Team was disappointed to be out of day three.
“It's very frustrating from our point of view. We've got a big night of work ahead of us to get back on the water tomorrow and it's frustrating to give those points away that could cost us later on in the season. We'll get back out there and push as hard as we can tomorrow.”
Skipper Roman Hagara added: “Not the best way to start the season. Luckily no one was injured.”
Following a hearing with the umpires, Red Bull Sailing Team was disqualified from race 14 having not afforded NZ Extreme Sailing Team ample room to sail their proper course around the mark.
Working hard to effect repairs on his boat, NZ Extreme Sailing Team skipper Jason Waterhouse took the crash in his stride.
“When you think of the Extreme Sailing Series, you think of action and lots of breeze,” he said.
“That's why you come to Oman – for these beautiful sea breezes, the backdrop and this close racing. We got a little bit too close today, but that's what makes it so exciting and great to watch.”
NZ Extreme Sailing Team was awarded average points in races 14 to 18, equal to that of average points achieved in races six to 13. Both boats will be back in the game tomorrow for the final day of Act 1.
With big breeze and glorious sunshine, day three in Muscat did not disappoint. In perfect conditions for extreme sailing, teams flew round the course in strong winds, with the foiling GC32s hitting top speeds of 30 knots, just metres away from the crowded shoreline.
Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team had a spectacular day on the water, dominating the fleet throughout, taking four race wins. The team's helm, Kiwi sailor Adam Minoprio, was thrilled with his results.
“Today was great – downwind and lots of drama,” he said. “I think we did very well. We had really good manoeuvres; we generally pride ourselves on our manoeuvres in big breeze. We're hoping the wind continues – it would make the last day really exciting.”
SAP Extreme Sailing Team weren't the only ones to deliver strong results on the Omani waters. Team México, skippered by Erik Brockmann, achieved their best result of the competition, speeding to the finish of race 16 ahead of British contingent Land Rover BAR Academy.
“We're constantly trying to improve,” explained Brockmann. “There were some races where we were really in touch with the fleet, and that's what we want – to be really competitive. It was perfect out there today; we're glad to have these conditions in Oman – we had a blast.”
Yet more big breeze is forecast moving into the final day of Act 1. Will it all be champagne sailing, or will drama strike once again? Racing continues tomorrow at an earlier time of 13:00 local time (UTC+4). Tune into the live coverage on the official Extreme Sailing Series website and Facebook to catch the action.
In the Flying Phantom Series, Team France Jeune and Red Bull Sailing Team continued their fight for an Act win in Muscat. Team France Jeune leads into the final day of racing, with Red Bull Sailing Team in second and Idreva Zephyr Foiling in third.
The Flying Phantom Series continues tomorrow from 10:00 local time (UTC+4).
Standings after Day 3, 18 races
1st Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 194 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Julius Hallstrom, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 184 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari 180 points.
4th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Will Alloway, Leigh McMillan, Oli Greber, Adam Kay, Mark Spearman 166 points.
5th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Jason Waterhouse, Will Tiller, Harry Hull, Luke Payne, Guy Endean 148 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Chris Draper, Ed Powys, Neil Hunter, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara 145 points.
7th Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps, Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro 126 points.
Flying Phantom Series Act 1, Muscat standings after Day 3, 18 races (16.03.18)
Position / Team / Points
1st Team France Jeune (FRA) Solune Robert, Antoine Rucard 346 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Olivia Mackay, Micah Wilkinson 344 points.
3rd Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) Charles Hainneville, Pierre-Yves Durand 321 points.
4th Culture Foil (FRA) Nicolas Ferellec, Theo Constance 310 points.
5th Flying Frogs (FRA) Pierre Le Clainche, Arnaud Vasseur 282 points.
6th EVO Visian ICL (GER) Raphael Neuhann, Elias Neuhann 263 points.
7th UON (POR) José Cladeira, Helder Basilio 258 points.
8th Masterlan (CZE) David Krizek, Zdenek Adam 230 points.