(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) With Team Duqm Oman joining the race as Oman Sail's invitational entry, the starting grid at The Wave, Muscat on Tuesday for the launch of the first Act of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) will have a strong fleet of eight teams. Sunny skies and light winds welcomed the crew of the eight trimarans on Monday as the fleet went out for a final training session ahead of the start.
With weathermen forecasting northeast-bound winds of 5-15kmph in the afternoon, the opening day of the ESS is expected to produce thrilling action as the contest will involve 16 Olympic champions and 30 America's Cup veterans. Three new teams have entered the first Act - Realteam, Team Korea and Oman Sail's Team Duqm Oman - providing a platform for high-intensity action over the next four days in the seventh season of the ESS. Local fans will get to cheer for defending champion, The Wave, Muscat, and Team Duqm Oman during the stadium-style races.
A total of three Omani sailors will be in action. The Wave, Muscat will have Hashim al Rashdi as bowman and Musab al Hadi as headsail trimmer. Team Duqm Oman, meanwhile, has Nasser al Mashari as its bowman. Rashdi and Mashari had taken part in the 2012 ESS onboard with the latter part of the runnerup team, Oman Air. Also, The Wave, Muscat will make history with Hadi and Rashdi teaming up together to make it the first instance of two Omanis featuring in the same team at the Series.
The opening leg is expected to witness a keen tussle between young and experienced skippers. Among the youngsters at the helm are New Zealander Will Tiller, 23, onboard GAC Pindar and Olympic silver medallist and this fleet's youngest skipper, Peter Burling, 22, on board Team Korea.
They will be up against world-class skippers like Leigh McMillan (The Wave, Muscat), Roman Hagara (Red Bull Sailing Team), Ernesto Bertarelli (Alinghi), Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner (SAP Extreme Sailing Team). Act 1 teams (skippers): The Wave, Muscat (Leigh McMillan), Alinghi (Ernesto Bertarelli), GAC Pindar (William Tiller), Realteam (Jrome Clerc), Red Bull Sailing Team (Roman Hagara), SAP Extreme Sailing Team (Jes Gram- Hansen & Rasmus Kostner), Team Korea (Peter Burling), Team Duqm Oman (Rob Greenhalgh).