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Testing conditions for Oman Air team as Extreme Sailing Series returns to Cardiff, UK

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Strong gusts of wind and persistent squalls produced challenging conditions on Cardiff Bay for the Oman Air team for the Extreme Sailing Series 
Strong gusts of wind and persistent squalls produced challenging conditions on Cardiff Bay

With clouds, wind and rain sweeping across the stadium-style race course in the Welsh capital, there were several delays for repairs for a number of the teams between the eight races sailed.

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Though boasting a strong record over the previous six years at the Cardiff venue, the Oman Air crew of skipper Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Stewart Dodson and James Wierzbowski finished the day in an untypical fifth place, though only three points behind overall Extreme Sailing Series season leaders Alinghi, who also found the conditions hard going.

“Because of the conditions the fleet sailed with reefed smaller mainsails, which was not a good sail configuration for us,” said Extreme Sailing Series veteran Greenhalgh.

“We had some good starts but we struggled at various stages, so we will be looking ahead to the three days and aiming to climb the table. 

“While it was great to have plenty of wind today, hopefully the weather will improve over the next few days!”

Also hoping for improved, not least warmer conditions, was Oman Air bowman Al Mashari.

“I have raced in many places around the world, but today was a challenge – so cold – not like any conditions you would find in Oman even in the winter,” he said.

“But we will be back out tomorrow and working hard to get some strong results to help our position. With three days to go there will be opportunities.”

Overall the first day of the Cardiff Act belonged to the Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team who took five wins from eight races to finish with 90 points, eight ahead of INEOS Rebels UK.

Red Bull Sailing Team finished the day in third spot with 73 points, one ahead of Alinghi with Oman Air hot on their heels on 69 points.

Racing resumes in Cardiff tomorrow and continues until Monday, 27 August.

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