Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have won act one of the Extreme Sailing Series at The Wave, Muscat, Oman.
The all French crew came ahead of Artemis Racing
by ten points after finishing fifth in the final double points race to seal the win after 32 races over five days.
"I didn't know what to expect in terms of emotion in the case of victory, I didn't have time to digest it as my crew threw me in the water,"
said an emotional Pierre Pennec
(FRA) who was in tears at the finish. "I am very emotional as it's a lot of work, a lot of personal investment. It's a long time now that I wanted to drive an Extreme 40, and winning ahead of all these champions, it's amazing."
Seven boats were in with a mathematical chance of winning the regatta with two races to go. And with 22 points available in the final race of the day, both Artemis Racing
and Red Bull Extreme Sailing
were able to take victory.
But in the end Terry Hutchinson
's (USA) Artemis Racing
finished in fourth place, one place ahead of Pennec's men who had therefore done enough. Hutchinson commented, "It's good to see that all our hard work since the end of 2010 has paid off but there is still much room for us to improve. We're having a little bit of a crew rotation for Act Two in Qingdao, so there will be lots of work to do".
(AUT), skipper of Red Bull Extreme Sailing
, leapt on to the prizegiving stage with his crew of Hans Peter Steinacher
(AUT), Will Howden
(GBR), and Craig Monk, jubilant at having secured third place.
For the Olympic duo of Hagara and Steinacher, who competed together last year on the European tour, this is their best ever result, "We are very happy tonight, that is the result we were looking for,"
said Steinacher. "The level is up again a lot this year and the all fleet is very tight together, it's really tough! But we are in fighting mode."
A total of 32 races were held over the five days - 11 races out on the open water courses on the first two days, and the remaining 21 within the confines of the 'stadium' right in front of the public. The second day delivered the most breeze - up to 21 knots - with the breeze softening to between 5-10 knots in the last two days.
's Emirates Team New Zealand
had a big comeback in the second half of the Act to finish in fourth place overall, beating Italy's Luna Rossa
by two points. Max Sirena's Luna Rossa
team that includes Britain's Paul Campbell-James
, defending 2010 Extreme Sailing Series skipper, struggled with consistency but seven first places over the five days including a win in the double-points final race ensured they kept the chasing Alinghi team at bay.
For the home teams of The Wave, Muscat
and Oman Air
the script didn't quite go to plan. The Wave, Muscat
skipper Torvar Mirsky
, new to the game and the youngest skipper on the tour, was impressive in the opening half of the Act - adapting well from one hull to two. But some pushy tactics had them in trouble with the umpires and they dropped from third place on day three to seventh place.
Oman Air's Sidney Gavignet
(FRA), also new to his role as Extreme 40 skipper, reveled in the experience ably supported by his experienced crew and although eighth place may not be where he wished to finish, it was a good first competitive Extreme 40 learning experience.
's Team Extreme
and the all-Italian team Niceforyou
, alongside Britain's Ian Williams
on Team GAC Pindar
were on the sharp end of the learning curve having arrived at Act 1 with limited training and boat preparation time.
Act Two of the Extreme Sailing Series will be staged from 15-17 April in Qingdao, China, preceded by two open-water racing days.
Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Overall Results after 32 races:
1 - Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
, 253 points
2 - Artemis Racing
, 243 points
3 - Red Bull Extreme Sailing
, 239 points
4 - Emirates Team New Zealand
, 236 points
5 - Luna Rossa
, 234 points
6 - Alinghi
, 217 points
7 - The Wave, Muscat
, 208 points
8 - Oman Air
, 188 points
9 - Team Extreme
, 143 points
10 - Niceforyou,
11 - Team GAC Pindar
, 62 points