Competition is close as Team Oman Air stay top of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series
Monday, October 10, 2016 10:09 AM
A tough last day in Portugal saw skipper Morgan Larson’s team shore up their defences to preserve their podium spot but Red Bull Sailing Team swept to a resounding victory in the double pointer Race 23, the last of the event, to steal a march on the Omanis and seize third place with an 11-point advantage.
Swiss rivals Alinghi also crossed the finish line ahead of Oman Air to record their third consecutive Act win of the series and close the overall season lead from three points to two, making Act 8 in Sydney in December a high pressure nail-biting title decider where the winner will take all.
In testing conditions with winds between 8 and 15 knots blowing in a variety of directions across the River Tagus, the Omanis posted two podium places from six races including a victory in Race 19, the second of the day, but the consistency that has characterised their season so far eluded them.
“We sailed pretty well as it happened but made a couple of errors that proved very costly,” said Oman Air mainsail trimmer and tactician Pete Greenhalgh.
“The conditions were very challenging to read with the wind coming from all directions and although our starting was better, it was not our finest event but having said that we are at the top of the table and still have a chance of winning the title for Oman Air.”
Looking ahead to Sydney in eight weeks’ time, Greenhalgh said there would be some detailed examination of performances between now and then to devise a winning strategy.
“We have learned a lot from the latest Acts so have a lot to debrief on but we know we can do it. Our game has definitely improved but so has the competition’s – the fleet has got very strong. We need to regroup put our front foot forward and go and have an excellent final regatta in Sydney.”
Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air bowman added: “We are looking forward to the final Act in Sydney and working on securing a victory for Oman Air – we are hopeful.”
The final Act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series starts in Sydney on Thursday 8 December and finishes on Sunday 11 December when the 2016 champions will be crowned