The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air finished No 1 and No 2, respectively, to cap the most successful ESS campaign for Oman Sail last year that concluded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in December. Muscat Daily has learned that Oman Air is unlikely to enter the team for the entire series, but may probably compete as a wild card or as an invitational team in the opening leg in Muscat. David Graham, the Oman Sail CEO, told Muscat Daily, “The Wave, Muscat is the confirmed entry for the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series so far.
We are in talks with prospective sponsors for a second team, but it's unlikely that talks will materialise this year.” Oman Sail made its debut in the ESS with Oman Sail Masirah in 2008 when the race was called iShares Cup-Extreme 40. It launched two teams, Oman Sail Masirah and Oman Sail Renaissance, the next year. Since then, Oman Sail has regularly been fielding two teams. Despite pulling out of the series, Oman Air is set to continue its support to sailing with sources confirming that it will support another top Oman Sail racing project. Meanwhile, the organisers confirmed the eight venues for the 2013 series.
The ESS will span the Middle East, Asia, South America and Europe, marking the third year of world-class competition for the circuit that was first launched as a Europe-only event in 2007. This year, Singapore returns as a venue after hosting test and exhibition events in 2010 and 2011. The series opener will be staged at The Wave, Muscat in Oman for the third consecutive year on March 5-8.
The final leg, to be held in November, will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro. In March, some new faces and teams will line up against the more seasoned crews for the first time on the home turf of defending champion The Wave, Muscat, which will again be skippered by Leigh McMillan. From Muscat, the fleet will move to Singapore. In May, the teams will return to China’s ‘Olympic Sailing City’ Qingdao, while the waters separating Asia and Europe will host the fourth leg in Istanbul, Turkey, before the customary European component of the series begins. Porto, Portugal, with the most compact and windy racecourse of 2012, will host Act 5. After that, the contest moves to Cardiff, Wales, for the Cardiff Harbour Festival where the Extreme 40s will race on Europe’s largest waterfront development over the UK August bank holiday weekend. Nice, on the French Riviera, will be the final European stop early in October before the fleet heads to Rio for the concluding Act of 2013.
The organisers have added some longer distance 'coastal races' and a Saturday evening special format race to the high-speed stadium format races this time round. In Muscat, the public Race Village will include Red Bull free runners, a family activity area, ‘Try Sailing’ sessions for local school groups and a beach football tournament, which attracted 130 local teams last year.
Apart from the eight world-class teams, a ‘home nation’ invitational team at each venue will also compete in the seventh edition of the series. Five of the teams that will be on the starting line in Muscat are ESS regulars - Red Bull Sailing Team, Alinghi, The Wave, Muscat, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and GAC Pindar.
Act 1: March 5-8: Muscat, Oman
Act 2: April 11-14: Singapore
Act 3: May 2-5: Qingdao, China
Act 4: June 20-23: Istanbul, Turkey
Act 5: July 25-28: Porto, Portugal
Act 6: August 23-26: Cardiff, Wales
Act 7: October 3-6: Nice, France
Act 8: November 14-17: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Oman Sail teams in ESS
2012 - The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air
2011 - The Wave, Muscat and Oman Sail Masirah
2010 - The Wave, Muscat and Oman Sail Masirah
2009 - Oman Sail Masirah and Oman Sail Renaissance
2008 - Oman Sail Masirah