Oman Air Claims Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 Win
Published: Monday, 21 March 2016
Oman Air claimed an extraordinary win in the opening Act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat (Mar 16-19).
(Photos: Lloyd Images)
The team, including Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth and Omani national Nasser Al Mashari, won over 50 per cent of the races sailed, more than any other team in series history.
“It was a phenomenal week for the whole team and obviously great to do that here on home waters,” says Larson. “We sailed at the highest level we have, so it’s going to take a lot of work for us to improve on from here. We know that a few of the other teams have some things to do and when they get that right, they’re going to be right there with us. We know they’re going to push and we have to keep on getting better.”
Red Bull Sailing Team claimed the victory in the first two races of the day as well as the final double-pointer, and more importantly, second overall. Skipper Roman Hagara commented: “It was a really tough day. We started quite well but it came down to the final race, and we put everything into it. In the end, it was perfect for us.”
Land Rover BAR Academy, with 2015 Extreme Sailing Series winner Leigh McMillan at the helm alongside skipper Bleddyn Môn, took third place in the final race, and third place overall, leaving Alinghi three points back in fourth.
Muscat saved the best for last, cranking up the breeze for the final two races that saw the eight GC32s flying around the track, and at times teetering on the edge.
Charging into the final race, four boats – SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Land Rover BAR Academy, Alinghi and Red Bull Sailing Team – were gunning for the podium positions.
SAP Extreme Sailing Team looked good at start, but missed a mark rounding, and when realising their error, crash-gybed, almost losing their bowman Renato Conde in the process. The mistake resulted in zero points in the race and a tumble down the rankings to finish in fifth.
“We are very disappointed right now,” commented Co-Skipper Jes Gram-Hansen. “We’ve been second throughout the whole of the regatta. We had a great start, and were leading the race and then unfortunately we didn’t take the right course, we thought we were heading to the finish and there was still one lap to go. We made a major error. Saying that we sailed well, and have been throughout the whole regatta. Oman Air sailed really strong all week, but I think we should have been on the podium.”
“The switch to the GC32 catamaran is the biggest transition the Series has ever been through, and Muscat has delivered near perfect conditions to get the Series off to a fantastic start,” says Event Director Andy Tourell. “The competition on the water has been fierce, with the form guide all but ripped up as the fleet get to grips with flying. Next stop is China, where we will see more open water racing combined with our unique stadium format.”
The series will continue with Act 2 in Qingdao, China (Apr 29 May 2).
Extreme Sailing Series Act 1, Muscat Results:
Position / Team / Points
1st Oman Air (OMA) 217 points
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 184 points
3rd Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 175 points
4th Alinghi (SUI) 172 points
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 166 points
6th CHINA One (CHN) 153 points
7th Team Turx (TUR) 140 points
8th Sail Portugal (POR) 138 points