We start again once more and things are (almost) the same! The same flying boats as in 2016, almost the same opponents, the same type of racing format - tight and thrilling - but it is a new season where everything remains for Alinghi to achieve the double after the victory last December in Sydney in the Extreme Sailing Series.
Nicolas Charbonnier, tactician and mainsail trimmer:
"Here we are! After several days of work on the boat, two training sessions and, of course, the inaugural GC32 championship, today we began the first stage of a circuit that will take in eight venues on three continents."
The format of the Extreme Sailing Series is unique in that combines high-level regattas with racing that is conducted close to the shore, meaning a spectacle for the public and for the teams' partners. It is also intended that it offers beautiful images and coverage for worldwide broadcast. To achieve this, we sailors sometimes have to travel a certain distance to reach a particularly spectacular backdrop, which ticks these boxes. That was the case today.
"We had to make a long journey back and forth to sail in front of the Sultan's palace in Muttrah. Between the two, ran seven races in beautiful conditions that were typical of the Muscat region. The 15-17 knots of midday wind raised a lot of waves...waves that remained when the wind fell to 10 knots, to complicate our task! In the end, it is far from being our best day, but the positive point is that we are only five points off first place and, in the Extreme Sailing Series, five points can be made up in a single race!"
Arnaud Psarofaghis, helmsman and co-skipper:
"In terms of how we sailed there are some things we can improve upon. At times, we allowed ourselves, a little too much, to get caught up in traffic (when we sail amidst all of the other boats) and everything becomes more difficult. The manoeuvres we need to carry out are too dangerous, we have to deal with bad air from our opponents sails and we are naturally restricted by the presence of other vessels.
"The strategy of choosing a side on the line and positioning ourselves was important. After having chosen to go port on the first two starts to phase out the issue of the fleet, we opted for departures to starboard, bringing us to the left of the race area and this is clearly what worked today.
"Then we had to deal with a rather classic pattern. When you have a tough start in this compact fleet and at this high level, there are few opportunities to regain the advantage. You have to be patient and make the right choices. When we saw our position and the points difference at the end of the day, we were expecting worse, to be honest. So, yes we are disappointed not to have sailed better, but it was quite difficult for everyone. Tomorrow, we will adjust those few points I mentioned and everything will be better!"
Check back tomorrow at 2pm (local time) for potentially 10 new races planned for the programme.
After the first seven races (12 points are awarded for a 1st place, 11 points for a 2nd, 10 points for a third etc.) the overall standings are:
1st - SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN): 1st, 6th, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 5th, 6th> 69 points
2nd - Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 4th, 4th> 68 points
3rd - Oman Air (OMA): 5th, 7th, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 1st, 3rd> 65 points
4th - Alinghi (SUI): 6th, 2nd, 5th, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 2nd> 64 points
Find all the results at: www.extremesailingseries.com/results
What: 1st stage of the Extreme Sailing Series ™ 2017 circuit comprising eight events, in eight host cities, on three continents
Who: Nine international teams, each composed of five team members
Where: Muscat, Oman When: Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th March
How: Teams compete over short courses in front of the public on a 32 foot foiling catamaran: the GC32
Tracking the racing
Follow the Alinghi team from the 8th to 11th of March (up to 10 races each afternoon – but be aware of the time difference: GMT + 4 hours, + 3 hours compared to Swiss time):
Online, via the Alinghi homepage (www.alinghi.com) or at www.extremesailingseries.com
> Races modeled in 3D from 9th to the 11th of March > 3hrs of live images on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th afternoon (from 2pm to 5pm local time)
> Replays available at the end of the races
On Twitter @alinghiteam > Thread after each race
On Facebook @teamalinghi and Instagram @alinghi > Video and video interviews throughout the regatta
Alinghi's GC32 Crew
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Headsail trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Foil Adjuster: Timothé Lapauw (FRA)
Tactician and mainsail trimmer: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Helm, co-skipper: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
João Cabeçadas (POR)
David Nikles (SUI)
Coach and Team Leader
Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
To find out more
Hashtags for the event
Photo credit © Lloyd Images