Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was dramatically rejigged ahead of the crucial final day of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series.
There were classic conditions in Sydney Harbour – bright blue sunny skies with up to 18 knots of breeze - which paved the way for a full racing schedule but it was Oman Air rivals Alinghi and the in form Red Bull Sailing Team who shared the spoils, claiming six wins in eight races.
Going into the penultimate day in second place, behind leaders Alinghi by just two points, Morgan Larson’s crew found the going tough and dropped one place to third, 19 points adrift of their Swiss opponents and 13 behind Red Bull.
It was one of those frustrating days when they struggled to find top gear, admitted Oman Air mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh and as a result, their chances of winning the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series title had taken a hit with a lot to do on the final day to turn the tables.
“It was a tough day. We were not on our best form and the results showed that,” said Greenhalgh.
“We didn’t find that second gear to allow us to step up and sock it to these guys and we were on the back foot. We didn’t start that well, our boat handling was a little bit off and our decision making wasn’t that good so the upshot is we have made life quite difficult for ourselves.
“We have dropped a few points behind the front bunch and have quite a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
The team was certainly not feeling any extra pressure with regards to the rivalry with Alinghi, which has been the main feature of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series, Greenhalgh added.
“We are lucky with the atmosphere on board our boat – it’s a nice atmosphere – we will regroup tonight and aim to come back strong tomorrow.”
Oman Air bowman Nasser Al Mashari was optimistic of prospects for the final day and said they would be doing their best to pull things around.
“We tried our best to claw back the points today but we just couldn’t do it so it was a tough day,” he said.
“The conditions were great – started out well and the wind built but our boat handling fell short of our usual standards. Tomorrow is our last day so we will be doing our best and hopefully will do better than today.”
Racing in Sydney concludes tomorrow with a double points final race which is set to decide the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series title after a year-long campaign.
Online coverage will continue on Sunday at www.extremesailingseries.com with Twitter updates and real-time 3D visuals, live leaderboards and vital statistics such as average and top speeds, distance sailed and number of manoeuvres performed.