Beautiful conditions greeted the nine teams in the first race of the series, with strong winds of up to 25 knots and blue skies off the coast Almoui Golf in Muscat, Oman. Of all the GC32 catamarans, it was the Danish team of SAP Extreme Sailing that took the honors, securing an early lead in the 2017 series after the first four days of racing.
SAP overcame a strong tussle with two-time America’s Cup winners Alinghi, Oman Air, and the Red Bull Sailing Team to claim victory. After claiming the first win of 2017, co-skipper Rasmus Køstner said: “It was a great day and a fantastic achievement for the team. It was full-on racing and we had to fight until the last race but it was fantastic to cross the finish line winning the regatta. It’s been a little while since we’ve won but it’s nice to be back on the top of the leaderboard.”
Double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher got off to a promising start for the Red Bull Sailing Team, finishing in the top three in their first four races including a win Wednesday. A disqualification and a crash followed to leave the team having to settle for fourth. According to Hagara: “The final result isn’t what we would have wanted, but the experience here in Muscat was valuable – we were able to sail together in a variety of conditions and had strong performances right from our first races.
“We knew that Alinghi would be tough this season – they’re the defending champions – but it’s clear that we’re going to be battling Oman Air and SAP Extreme Sailing as well. I think the fans are going to have an exciting season ahead, and so are we.”
The Extreme Sailing Series picks up again April 28, in the classic venue of Qingdao, China.
Act 2: Qingdao, China, 28 April to 1 May 2017.
Act 3: Funchal, Madeira Islands, 29 June to 2 July 2017.
Act 4: Europe, 20–23 July 2017.
(The European city has yet to be announced)
Act 5: Hamburg, Germany, 10–13 August 2017.
Act 6: Cardiff, UK, 25–28 August 2017.
Act 7: San Diego, United States, 19–22 October 2017.
Act 8: Los Cabos, Mexico, 30 November to 3 December 2017.