Extreme Sailing Series second leg in Qingdao

Nasser al Mashari (left), Khamis al Anbouri

The second leg of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) gets underway in Qingdao, China on Wednesday at the nine-stop round the world circuit's new venue.

The 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet had competed in the first leg in Muscat in February and are now all set to take on each other at Fushan Bay, the home of the 2008 Olympic Village. Following the first leg win in Muscat, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will be looking to follow it up with another win.

The races in Muscat were tightly contested as victory was secured in the final double points race by Pierre Pennec’s crew, who were pushed hard by Artemis Racing (second place) and Red Bull Extreme Sailing (third).

Oman Sail teams aim to make amends.The sultanate's challenge led by Oman Sail's boats - The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air - are looking to erase their disappointing performance in the first leg at home where they finished seventh and eighth respectively.

The crew of the two boats went through a couple of training sessions since reaching the venue on Sunday. Omani sailor Khamis al Anbouri is a crew member with The Wave, Muscat, which won the Extreme Sailing Series last year, while Nasser al Mashari will be on board the Oman Air.

Khamis , who spent the time between the Muscat and Qingdao legs working with budding talent back home in Oman, said, “I was working alongside the Oman Sail sailing schools for some time, which was great. I have been sailing with the kids and went out with a group of girls during the Try Sailing event. I also spent time with the new recruits in Musannah. It reminded me of the phase when I was undergoing training as a new recruit.”

In the first leg, The Wave, Muscat lost out on the overall initiative after encountering three accidents in the course of the competition. Tovar Mirsky, skipper of The Wave, Muscat said, “We were pretty nervous in Muscat as it was our first experience together as a team. But now we are feeling more confident. We have learnt a lot about the boats and the competition. We have the potential to be competitive among the fleet and we believe that both The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air have the potential to compete with the rest.”

For Nasser, who is the bowman of the Oman Air boat, this is the second trip to China. He debuted there as a bowman on board The Wave, Muscat during the Extreme Sailing Series Asia in 2010. The Omani sailor said, “We have been in Qingdao for a few days now. I am excited to be here. The wind is going to be tricky but we have been training for the last couple of days.”

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