Terry Hutchinson impresses in Muscat

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The Independent Online

He’s American, he’s uber intense, and, for a man contesting his first regatta in the Extreme 40 catamarans, Terry Hutchinson is beginning to burn up the opposition off the coast of Muscat.

The man from Annapolis was rival Dean Barker’s tactician when Team New Zealand, also honing catamaran racing skills, won the Louis Vuitton challenger series for the America’s Cup in Valencia in 2007.

The following year he took the Quantum team to victory in the Audi MedCup series for TP52s, only then to be beaten two years consecutively by Barker. Now he is helmsman for Sweden’s Artemis challenge for the America’s Cup, though he will alternate with Santiago Lange. The five-time Argentinian Olympic sailor, including winning a bronze medal in the Tornado catamaran, will be at the helm for Artemis in the next Extreme regatta in Qingdao, China.

Three firsts, a second and a third on the third day of The Wave regatta, it refers to a multi-billion dollar property development which is the base for the first of nine around the world in the Extreme Sailing Series, pulled him to within three points of the leader, Pierre Pennec, carrying the flag of France on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

“We spent 20 days training in Miami and another eight here in Oman,” he said, “but we still have a lot to learn. One of the things that is coming through is that, given the speed which these 40-foot cats go, you have to have a much faster decision-making process that in much slower monohulls.

“It was a really good day, but there’s a long way to go. We’re figuring it out slowly,” he said with a rare smile.

The learning curve is proving much harder for Britain’s Ian Williams, still bottom of the 11-boat league table in a GAC Pindar team that will also be contesting the World Match Race Tour, of which he has twice been champion.