The RC44 fleet blew away the cobwebs today with three practice starts and one race ahead of the opening day of the season.
In the sole race Katusha lead from start to finish, Ironbound looked pretty quick upwind after a clean start in the middle of the line. The course looked pretty even as the fleet split up the first beat, before came back together half way up.
Muscat, Oman is the host venue for the season’s opener and the 13 RC44’s are moored in the new marina complex at the Wave, Muscat right in front of Oman Sail, the event organisers offices.
Not many of the teams have raced in Oman before, but Artemis Racing’s tactician Morgan Larson could be the man who knows the waters best having skippered the Omani Extreme 40, Oman Air, last season.
One of the first timers in Oman is Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton, he filled us in on his first impressions. “Today the breeze started light and by the afternoon had built to over 20knots, if that stays true or we get a couple of days like that this week it's going to be a fantastic place to race. Overall it was a really interesting afternoon, looking at this venue we are liking what we see and have really enjoyed today. What we saw from todays practice race is that both sides of the race course are working out, it's just a matter of who sails better, being fast and which crew manages the boat better.”
And on the reigning champions main competition this week, “Morgan (Larson) is probably one of the only tacticians here that has much experience on these waters. Artemis Racing is always our biggest threat along with Katusha, but really now the whole fleet is strong and when any of the guys pull it together they’re all hard to beat.”
The match race day gets underway at 11.30 (GST) 07.30 (GMT) with the start of the round robin format that runs across the whole RC44 season, follow progress on the live blog at www.rc44.com .