Masirah takes victory in the first leg of the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia
The champions of this year’s European X40 Series – skippered by Pete Cumming (GBR) – consolidated their overnight lead by winning the first three races of the day, setting them on the way to victory over 20 races held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
BT took second place, followed by the China Team and Shirley Robertson’s Rumbo Almeira. The Wave, Muscat and Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team rounded out the six-boat field.
Cumming explained: “We had very different winds here to the European circuit and with two new members of the team we are really pleased to have done so well. We had to learn to adapt to a new bow and helmsmen and it’s been a great challenge that the whole team has risen to. We came here not looking for or expecting a win, just gave it our best. Bring on Singapore!”
“I’m so happy with the finish we had beating everyone and with lots of points to spare!’ added Omani squad member Khamis Al Anbouri. “I think I’m the first Omani in history to sail in Hong Kong since Sinbad travelled here from Oman all those years ago. I’m so pleased to race as part of a professional series and race in front of these top sailors. It’s been a great experience and I think I’m allowed to call myself a professional sailor now – I’m so pleased!”
As Masirah and the BT battled for the top spot in Hong Kong, the fight for third was a thriller between the China Team, making their debut in the Extreme 40 Series, and Rumbo Almeira, skippered by double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson. With one race to go and the traditional double points on offer, Thierry Barot’s China Team had to finish ahead of Robertson’s team to secure the last podium position, which they successfully did in a fitting finale to the Hong Kong leg.
Moloney, skipper of BT, was delighted with his runner-up placing. A big push saw them finish with a second and a win in the last two races to secure the second spot.
“We needed those good scores earlier,” said Moloney. “The trap with this type of sailing is to be conservative. If you think that, then you get hammered. You have to race to win – game on, don’t sail to cover otherwise you get smashed. At one point we were sailing for third, forget that – go for the win! It’s been awesome. To win the Around the Island Race was a highlight personally for me. When we finished, we erupted and it was genuine passion.”
The Extreme Sailing Series Asia now moves to Singapore (11-15 December) before the inaugural series concludes in Muscat, Oman, from 1-5 February.
1. Oman Sail’s Masirah 104 points
2. BT 93
3. China Team 71
4. Rumbo Almeira 62
5. The Wave, Muscat 57
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team 54
For more information, visit www.ExtremeSailingSeriesAsia.com