Published: Friday, 03 March 2017

With the inaugural GC32 Championship now underway, there are a few days until the Extreme Sailing Series returns for 2017 with Act 1, Muscat in Oman – the first stop on an eight-Act global tour that will visit three continents over 10 months.

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(Photos: Jesus Renedo / GC32 Championship Oman 2017)

Eight teams representing seven nations with 40 sailors will compete on the waters in front of the Al Mouj Golf course, as they start their season-long campaigns to claim the Series title, currently held by Swiss team Alinghi.

The crews will come fresh from competing in the inaugural GC32 Championship, which has seen the one-design fleets from the Extreme Sailing Series and GC32 Racing Tour unite to form a record 11-strong fleet of GC32s.

John Craig, who will make his debut as Race Director of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, predicts this will mean a hotter standard of racing in the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series than normal.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 In Oman About To Kick Off

He said: "A lot of the teams have been here in Muscat for a few weeks so they have done a lot of sailing and the end result is that the level of competition should be higher than usual. The GC32 Championship is a week of preparation that they've never had before.

“Muscat is an interesting venue in that the typical sea breeze direction means that it is lighter the closer you get to the shore, so we are hoping we'll get a couple of fronts coming through that will bring us some breeze.

"We'll do as much Stadium Racing as we can – as that is our sporting DNA – but we also have a couple of long distance coastal races planned which will give the teams a bit more breeze.”

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The Act sees the return of five of last season's teams: Alinghi, Land Rover BAR Academy, Oman Air, Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team, alongside some new additions in the form of Kiwi-flagged Tawera Racing and wildcards Team ENGIE and Team Tilt.

The action is scheduled to get underway at 13:00 local time (UTC+4) on Wednesday March 8, with open water racing in front of the stunning backdrop of Muscat's Old Town, known as Muttrah.

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