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over 8 years ago by Hugh Styles

Styles steers China Team to Bronze in Oman and Asian Extreme Sailing Series

The Muscat regatta was only the third regatta for the China Team who stepped up their game for this the final event of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia raced in Oman, it came down to the wire on the last day with the podium positions going in favour of Oman Masirah followed by the Wave and then China Team, the nock on effect of this was an incredibly tight finish in the overall standings with the China Team and The Wave on equal points behind Masirah for the overall Asian title.

This three-event Asian tour has seen many familiar faces from the European tour, such as, double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson, solo round the world skipper Nick Moloney and European Champion Pete Cumming, whilst newcomers Thierry Barot skippering The China Team with Helm Hugh Styles, Mainsheet man Tan Wearn Haw and Trimmer Adam Piggott, and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing have gone from a 'standing start' to put in an awesome performance, pushing the more seasoned racers all the way.

The Asian circuit kicked off in Hong Kong, then Singapore before ending here in Muscat at a full public event:

"It was very impressive, right in front of the public but still this sport is very intense, delivery is very high in terms of tactics and strategy. I really believe it is the future of sailing," said China Team skipper Thierry Barot. "This is what sailing needs in term of development - the Extreme Sailing Series is a sport in itself."

At the start of the fifth and final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Muscat event there were a few worried and tense looking sailors on the dockside - the wind was blowing over 20 knots and the anticipation of some tense battles ahead only heightened the stakes. Thierry Barot's China Team and Paul Campbell-James and the crew on The Wave, Muscat were on equal points at the start of racing with Masirah just one point behind and it was clear this was where the battle for the podium would be taking place.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing who suffered a capsize yesterday were just one point ahead of Nick Moloney's BT, whilst Shirley Robinson on Rumbo Almeria knew she could play catch up if things went in her favour. The scene was set for an awesome display of Extreme racing.

As the local crowds gathered on Al-Hail beach for the final day of the 'Extreme Beach Party', racing got underway with two rounds of 'speed runs'.
The reefed Extreme 40s relished these high-speed conditions courtesy of the 20+ knots of north-westerly wind, and flew down the windward/leeward course flying the hulls in front of the packed VIP platform.

As the wind dropped to around 10 knots, the huge mainsails were hoisted to the top of the masts, and fleet racing began. The Oman Sail boats led the way - first place for The Wave, Muscat and second for Masirah. China Team finished fourth place behind BT, putting them 6 points behind leaders. Another drama for Red Bull as their mainsail came tumbling down mid-race. They quickly hoisted a man of the mast to sort it out and were back racing in time for the penultimate race.

The pressure was at the max... The skippers jostling for position on the short start line - Paul Campbell-James misjudged the start and was over the line, forcing him to restart as their teammates sailed away to snatch the race. China Team got caught up at the start in the first two races, and allowed the Oman boats to pull ahead on the leaderboard. But the double-points final race was coming up...

Only just enough wind remained to propel the boats over the line. Hugh Styles takes up the story: “We knew it was tight on points with BT the Wave and Masirah so we had to keep out of trouble. But as the warning signal fired the wind dropped rapidly making for very unstable sailing conditions, we decided to start on port, got control over BT and all was good, until Almeria came speeding in with kite up and sailed over the top of us taking our wind and forcing us down the line towards starboard tack Masirah and the committee boat. Almeria had to avoid Masirah and in doing so sailed straight into the anchor warp of the committee boat and parked, we squeezed round the melee and were off! Masirah had the upper hand to lead off the line with us and BT neck and neck and the others parked. We pressured BT on the run and overtook them to finish 2nd from The Wave 3rd and BT 4th.

It was a superb end to a fantastic inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Only in a few months time, the Extreme Sailing Series European circuit will be starting - we can't wait!

Extreme Sailing Series Asia : Muscat
1st Oman Sail Masirah, 103 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, 101 points
3rd China Team, 91 points
4th BT, 84 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 71 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, 70 points

Extreme Sailing Series Overall:
1st Masirah, 18 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, 11 points
3rd China Team, 11 points
4th BT, 10 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 8 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, 5 points

Associates: Sailing Networks

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