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Wide Open! Day of comebacks ahead of the final day tomorrow

The fleet racing close to the shore
© Lloyd Images
On the penultimate day of racing at Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman the action came thick and fast, with both Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Team New Zealand delivering the most outstanding performances of the day. 
Roman Hagara and the crew of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, lying in 5th overall going into today, are now on the podium lying in third place after 25 races: “We are really happy now we are third overall and it’s great for us. We are almost beginners and it is the best result so far and I hope we can continue. We have a lot of experience in the Extreme 40 already and Craig (Monk) is really strong so he can do a lot of things that we can not handle without him, and those last minute calls are a bit easier so overall we made a good improvement.”
Red Bull Extreme Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara
© Lloyd Images
For Dean Barker and the boys on Team New Zealand it was an even better day, climbing from 7th to 4th in the rankings: “Today everything fell into place really well and we had a fantastic day on the water and managed to get some good solid results which was very pleasing for all of us,” said Barker. “It was a day where in a lot of ways we had a little bit of luck, which seems to be an important ingredient here, and we had some good starts and the crew were solid all day. We might have started the regatta slow but each day it feels like we have improved a little bit and if we can carry on improving then we’ll be satisfied.”
A total of eight ‘stadium’ races were staged off The Wave, Muscat that saw six different teams claim at least one race win, Team New Zealand scored two first places and the all-Italian team Niceforyou delighted in their first race win of 2011: “I feel happy and happy for my crew that they did a very good job,” said skipper Alberto Barovier. “The boat handling today was perfect and all the tactical choices were good, not all the races but most.” Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, helmed by Pierre Pennec, were consistently good enough today to hold on to their top place ranking, just 7 points ahead of Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing. With 11 points for a win, and 22 points on the final race tomorrow, its wide open in the top half of the leaderboard. As Dean Barker summed up: “There’s a lot of points still on the table going so its going to be hard.”
Oman Air behind spectators
© Lloyd Images
The short and demanding courses raced within the constraints of the stadium saw the on-water umpires dish out multiple penalties for blocking and port-starboard incidents in the light 7-9 knot NE breeze.
The most dramatic incident of the day came when Torvar Mirsky’s The Wave, Muscat suffered a collision with Alinghi, and very nearly ended up on the breakwater boulders. As Mirsky’s crew called for water and tacked on to port, Alinghi did not react quickly enough and crashed into their port hull. The Wave, Muscat carried on racing but has been craned out tonight to undergo a long night of repairs. The team has confirmed they will be back racing tomorrow and they are still very much in the game lying in 5th place overall. Only 2 points separate Luna Rossa in 6th place and Alinghi in 7th. Right now, 7 of the 11 teams could still win Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series with multiple races to come and double-points up for grabs in the final race.

Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Day 4 Results after 25 races:
Pstn / Team / Skipper/crew / points
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), 194 points
2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), 187 points
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), 183 points
4th Team New Zealand (NZL), 176 points
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), 165 points
6th Luna Rossa (ITA), 163 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), 161 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), 143 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), 96 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), 75 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), 43 points

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