Sailing: NZ gets invite to Extreme event in Oman

The NZL Sailing Team will need quick reactions when they get to the Red Bull Youth America's Cup and showed last week they can react quickly when responding to an invitation to compete in this week's Extreme Sailing Series in Oman.

The team were out training on Auckland harbour on Friday and received word on their return to dock they could compete as a wildcard in Oman. They flew out on Sunday.

"We were scrambling around to make it happen," bowman Luca Brown said.

Act 1 of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series will see nine teams compete over four days off the coast of Muscat, Oman, and will be valuable experience for the NZL Sailing Team ahead of June's Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

"This is massive for us to get racing experience, otherwise the Youth America's Cup will be our first racing experience together," Brown said. "We hope to work out a few kinks and it will give out next month of training a lot more direction."

Five members of the eight-strong NZL Sailing Team travelled to Oman but two other members - Stewart Dodson and Josh Salthouse - were already involved with other teams. Micah Wilkinson remained in New Zealand to attend a wedding.

The Extreme Sailing Series is sailed in foiling GC32s, the same boat the NZL Sailing Team have been training on. It's similar to the AC45s they will be using at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, albeit on a smaller scale.

The NZL Sailing Team will head to Bermuda at the end of the month for a two-week training block at the America's Cup venue, when they will practice on the AC45 SoftBank Team Japan used during the America's Cup World Series.

Racing in Oman gets under way today when the teams compete in front of Muscat's Old Town and there will be a mixture of stadium racing close to shore and longer coastal racing over the four days.

A second Kiwi team, Tawera Racing, will also be competing and they got a good taste of the conditions in Oman last week when the Chris Steele skippered outfit finished eighth of 11 teams who competed in the GC32 Championships.

That event was won by Oman Air, helmed by New Zealand's Phil Robertson. Another Kiwi skipper, Adam Minoprio, helmed SAP Extreme Sailing Team to third.

"We are excited about going toe-to-toe with experienced sailors and tackling a steep learning curve," NZL Sailing Team skipper Logan Dunning Beck said. "It is a great opportunity for the team.

"The fleet is larger than we have sailed against previously and we will be pushing harder in the racing. But we are ready for the challenge this presents.

"We are a new team all below the age of 24, and everyone is fit, strong and excited to race. We are looking to build experience at this event and, of course, race hard."

- NZ Herald

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