Oman team top table in Extreme Sailing Series

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The Independent Online

Topping the table at the end of the first day of the opening regatta in the Extreme Sailing Series was the team representing the host country, Oman, skippered by Australian Torvar Mirsky.

With a first, a second, a fourth and a fifth they were just one point ahead of Sweden’s America’s Cup squad, Artemis, skippered by the American Terry Hutchinson.

But struggling was the other expected America’s Cup challenger, Team New Zealand, lying eighth and bringing up the rear of the 11-boat fleet was Britain’s Ian Williams, twice a former world match racing champion, helming GAC Pindar.

Under pressure as they head towards Cape Horn, the leaders in the Barcelona, two-handed round the world race, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron of France, have a 100-mile lead over Spain’s Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez.

The French pair gave up a good part of their lead because of taking a second stop for repairs, this time in Wellington, for a mandatory 48 hours.

Due also to stop are third-placed Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane, fourth-placed Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes, plus eighth-placed Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak, who will be helped by Hugo Boss original skipper, Alex Thomson.

That should allow Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella to move up a place.

The 34 expected starters in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Caribbean 600 are expecting fair but not especially fast conditions for the start today (Monday) out of Antigua. Of the two biggest, Mike Slade’s Leopard set the record of just over 44 hours last year, but will be challenged by another 100-footer, George David’s Rambler, with skipper Kenny Read using the race as a workout for his Puma crew competing in the Volvo round the world race later this year.