Sailing: Trophy for Kiwis despite lowly finish

Picture of the fleet racing close to the shore and historic town of Mutrah. Photo / Extreme Sailing Series
Picture of the fleet racing close to the shore and historic town of Mutrah. Photo / Extreme Sailing Series

The NZL Sailing Team might have finished at the foot of the table after four days of racing at the Extreme Saiing Series in Oman but they collected the trophy for the fastest team on the water.

The crew, skippered by Logan Dunning Beck, were recorded as travelling at 31 knots on the penultimate race and picked up the Zhik Speed Machine Trophy.

It was good reward for a team who were using the first act of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series as valuable training for June's Red Bull Youth America's Cup in Bermuda. They were frustrated at times with their results over the 27 races but showed improvement over the four days and collected a fifth in the second-last race - their equal best result of the series.

There was delight for Kiwi Adam Minoprio, who helmed his team SAP Extreme Sailing Team to overall honours in the first act of this year's Extreme Sailing Series. Three teams were in contention going into the final, double points race but SAP Extreme Sailing Team clinched victory with a second-place finish, crossing the line behind young wildcard crew Team Tilt.

It was their first act win since May 2015 when they took the top spot in Qingdao, China.

The action was nothing short of spectacular as the fleet of foiling GC32 catamarans flew round Muscat's stadium racecourse off Almouj Golf in gusts up to 25 knots.

The final race also saw 2016 Extreme Sailing Series champions Alinghi snatch second place overall from Oman Air right on the finish line.

Alinghi needed to beat Oman Air with a boat in between them to leapfrog them on the scoreboard and they did just that, as Tawera Racing from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron overtook Oman Air, helmed by Kiwi Phil Robertson, at the last minute.

"We were in some strong positions today and just managed to slip in the last race which is a bit of a shame, but that's yacht racing and it's what we've got to get better at," Robertson said.

Austrian crew Red Bull Sailing Team, who had Kiwis Stewart Dodson and Will Tiller on board, had to settle for fourth place ahead of Team Tilt and Team ENGIE in fifth and sixth respectively.

​Chris Steele's Tawera Racing, who join the Extreme Sailing Series this season, finished seventh, with Land Rover BAR Academy in eighth and NZL Sailing Team in ninth.

The four days of thrilling racing were the perfect start to the 11th year of the Extreme Sailing Series that sees eight Acts held in three continents culminating in a season finale in Los Cabos, Mexico, in December. The Extreme Sailing Series excitement will resume with Act 2 in Qingdao, China, from April 28 to May 1.

The NZL Sailing Team return to New Zealand before heading to Bermuda for a training block on the AC45s they will race at the Red Bul Youth America's Cup.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 1, Muscat standings after Day 4, 27 races
Position / Team / Points
1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Adam Minoprio, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Hervé Cunnigham, Richard Mason 286 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 270 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 270 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 247 points.
5th Team Tilt (SUI) Sebastien Schneiter, Jéremy Bachelin, Nils Theuninck, Arthur Cevey, Jocelyn Keller 235 points.
6th Team ENGIE (FRA) Sébastien Rogues, Gurvan Bontemps, Jules Bidegaray, Antoine Joubert, Benjamin Amiot 199 points.
7th Tawera Racing (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Shane Diviney, Leonard Takahashi Fry, Josh Salthouse 195 points.
8th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Owen Bowerman, Will Alloway, Adam Kay, Oli Greber 173 points.
9th NZL Sailing Team (NZL) Logan Dunning Beck, Harry Hull, Isaac McHardie, Matthew Kempkers, Luca Brown 142 points.

- NZ Herald

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