Published: Monday, 13 March 2017

SAP Extreme Sailing Team became the first winners of 2017 Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 Muscat (Mar 8-11) in Oman.

Sap Extreme Sailing Team Clinches Opening Win At Act 1 Muscat 1

(Photos: Lloyd Images / Extreme Sailing Series - SAP Extreme Sailing Team)

After 26 races over four days three teams – SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Oman Air and Alinghi – went into the final race, worth double points, capable of taking the overall win.

But after a fast and furious race SAP Extreme Sailing Team, helmed by Kiwi Adam Minoprio, clinched Act 1 victory with a second-place finish, crossing the line behind young wildcard crew Team Tilt.

It is the first Act win for SAP Extreme Sailing Team since May 2015 when they took the top spot in Qingdao, China.

Sap Extreme Sailing Team Clinches Opening Win At Act 1 Muscat

Rasmus Køstner, Co-skipper, said: "It was a great day and a fantastic achievement for the team. We knew we were in the lead going into the last race and we really wanted to win the Act.

"It was full-on racing and we had to fight until the last race but it was fantastic to cross the finish line winning the regatta. It's been a little while since we've won but it's nice to be back on the top of the leaderboard."

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

Sap Extreme Sailing Team Clinches Opening Win At Act 1 Muscat 2

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 overtook Phil Robertson's home team at the last minute.

Arnaud Psarofaghis, Alinghi helmsman, said: "This is a really good start to the season for us. I'm a little disappointed about how I sailed this week, it wasn't at the best level, but every day we caught up a little bit and we ended up with second which is good. The crew did a fantastic job and I just need to be a little bit better next time."

Oman Air skipper Robertson, who replaces Morgan Larson this season, said he was disappointed to have been knocked off the runner-up spot in the last race but that his new-look crew had much to take from the Act.

Sap Extreme Sailing Team Clinches Opening Win At Act 1 Muscat 4

He said: "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.”

Austrian crew Red Bull Sailing Team 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.

Sap Extreme Sailing Team Clinches Opening Win At Act 1 Muscat 5

Despite finishing at the bottom of the table NZL Sailing Team were awarded the Zhik Trophy for the fastest boat speed in the Act after they notched up an incredible 31 knots on the penultimate race today.

The Extreme Sailing Series will resume with Act 2 in Qingdao, China (Apr 28-May 1). 

Extreme Sailing Series 2017 overall standings

1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 12 points
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 11 points
3rd Oman Air (OMA) 10 points
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points
5th Tawera Racing (NZL) 8 points
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 7 points