It was a beautiful and exciting day to be at the Wave in Muscat, Oman! Today (Thursday, March 7th) was actually the 3rd day of racing here in Muscat as 8 extreme sailing teams battle it out for top spot on the podium. The teams according to ranking entering todays race were: 1) The Wave, Muscat, 2) Redbull Sailing Team, 3) Alinghi, 4) Team Duqm Oman, (invitational team during this series) 5) Realteam, 6) SAP Extreme Sailing Team, 7) GAC Pindar, and 8) Team Korea. As the gentleman here explained to us during the VIP/Media briefing, Act 1 in Muscat, Oman is only the first of a total of 8 extreme sailing series this year. The other locations include: Singapore (April 11-14), Qingdao, China (May 2-5), Istanbul, Turkey (June 20-23), Porto, Portugal (July 25-28), Cardiff, UK (Aug 23-26), Nice, France (Oct 3-6), and finishing off in Rio, Brazil (Nov 14-17). The Wave Muscat (pictured here leading the pack in one of the earlier races of the day) was definitely the team to beat today as they were #1 entering today’s race, they have “home field” advantage and they are the defending champions from last year! This is the impressive VIP tent which is a pretty decent structure. I think it’ss only there temporarily for this event. The 1st floor has the VIP Bar which has the best views of the races, just metres from the shore. Talk about a dedicated photographer!
It was wonderful enough just to be there and watch the races from the VIP/Media section. I came to realize that I had been volunteered (by Stacey Ross-Media Specialist for Redbull) to race in one of the sailing boats during the actual race with Redbull! WOW! Sounded excited but I was afraid that I might get in the way of the team. The use of “guests” of “VIPs” in each boat is what makes this extreme sailing series unique. As I heard the commentary explain later in watching the day’s events on youtube, “All these boats are carrying guests unless its deemed too windy. It’s one of the unique aspects of the tour. It’s a pretty special ride. You’re right in the heat of the action which can for sure get tense onboard. It’s not a “sail around the bay”; you’re inside a formula 1 team at the sharp end.” After signing the waiver (always scary, isn’t it?!) the group of us that were to join in the 4th race of the day got suited up and boarded a boat. That boat was then approached by other boats (as you see here) that took us individually to our respective sailing boats. Check out the lady who works for Euro Sports with the Go-Pro helmet cam! Graeme Spence (from Australia) is the Bowman of the team. I also think he was the “media consultant” as he was the one who briefed the guests on board. Nice guy! My wife mentioned that it seemed “kind of slow” from the shore, but when you are on board there is no mistaking how intense it can be! It’s like “sailing on steroids!” Here’s a short vid I took at the very beginning of the race (Race 3 of the day) to give you an idea: Matt Adams (UK-Mainsail Trim), Hans Peter Steinacher (Austria-Tactician), and the Skipper/Helm (also from Austria), Roman Hagara. Matt Adams has won 5 world championships and 1 national. The skipper, Roman Hagara has been in the Olympics 6 times and has won 2 gold medals for Austria. Mr. Steinacher helped him win those 2 gold medals in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004. A lot of experience on this boat! Of course it was almost impossible to get a good pic while on board so I switched over to video to record another clip of the action!
Here’s the 3rd and final clip I took while on board:
Here’s an awesome pic that one of the Redbull photographers (Vincent Curutchet) captured of one of their competitors (Harry Thurston from GAC Pindar) and posted on their online content pool: Here’s a pic I took of the 5th member of the team, Pierre Le Clainche, from France. The sailors often put themselves in front like this to take the weight off the back of the boat to make the boat go forward faster. Pierre was won 2 world championships, 1 European title and 2 French national championships. Here’s another pic of Pierre but this time of him in action from the Redbull content pool (credit: Loyd images): The redbull team came in 2nd place in the race I experienced. The boat came to pick me up and drop off another “guest”. Turns out that the next guest aboard the Redbull extreme sailing boat was none other than my blogging buddy, Geoffrey: They ended up in 1st place on this 4th race of the day! Turned out to be a HUGE DAY for Redbull as they came out in the lead!
Act 1 – Muscat, Oman – Provisional Standings after Race 21:
- Red Bull Sailing Team – 177 points
- The Wave, Muscat – 162 points
- Alinghi – 159 points
- Team Duqm Oman – 129 points
- Team Korea – 120 points
- GAC Pindar – 116 points
- SAP Extreme Sailing Team – 112 points
Here is a video from the Extreme Sailing youtube channel of the last hour and a half of racing from Thursday for all you diehard extreme sailing fans:
Don’t miss out on the final day of action at the Wave, Muscat tomorrow!