Determination to Dominate in Muscat
Blog by Jes Gram-Hansen
Muscat hosted the 2nd stop on the Extreme Sailing Series world tour on March 11 – 14, and threw all it could at the eight Extreme 40s battling it out for the series win. The weather system we encountered was not typical for Muscat, certainly not out of the brochure, so we had to change our strategy to deal with the intense conditions. The wind was kicking up to 16 knots and a big choppy sea state that was challenging meaning any unnecessary manoeuvres would prove costly for us. Daily we were having to reset not only our rigs and boat settings but also how we handle the pressure and tactics for the tight race course.
We were always in the mix at the top of the pack and we held firm on day 2 and scored big. We were making our intentions clear we are here to win. We want to up the pace and we are determined to dominate. The open water racecourse is never easy, and on the second day of racing we found our winning formula for consistency in changeable conditions. On Day three we broke a winch which we were quick to get on and repair before we went into the race start sequence, the winch’s are integral you can’t sail without them, the loads are too high, so we worked with our shore team in the chase boat to get back on track and ready for the count down. We relinquished our top spot to the Wave on day three and knew going into the final day of racing it would all come down to the double points race in terms of where we would stand on the podium.
After four days of very physical racing we knew we were holding our competitive position, we hit the starts fast, with on average a one meter lead on the fleet and resulting in a two point difference with The Wave Muscat after 29 races.
With our podium hopes alive, we came out of the blocks fighting in every race. The decider for the Act win between the SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Red Bull and The Wave came down to an epic heart pounding race and as always down to the final race. When you look at the SAP insights, both our team and The Wave, Muscat were sharing over 50% of the race wins, so we knew we were dominating in the fleet.
Although we won eight races and achieved 17 podiums and 8 wins, the outcome of the nail biting final race meant the final standings locked us in with 237 on the leader board, a well deserved 2nd on the podium. It’s now a three way tie at the top of the leader board on 18 points a piece for our team, The Wave Muscat and Red Bull Sailing.
The Series tour now moves its focus to the next event in China, Qingdao, from the 30 April – 3 May where the we will once again face an completely new set of conditions set against the city scape of Fushan Bay.