Cardiff: Oman Air kept up a steady pace despite high winds and sudden gusts to extend their lead on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff.
Morgan Larson’s team fared well in the challenging conditions where some gusts were clocked at 22 knots, their trademark consistency underpinning another strong performance with four podium places in six races, including victory in the final race of the day.
The GC32 catamarans came into their own in the Cardiff Bay conditions, popping up on their foils and skimming above the water at high speeds, some of the races finishing in just seven – rather than the normal 12 – minutes.
“These boats are incredible and the competition is really tight,” said skipper Larson.
“It was all on. Sometimes, you are feeling good and are right up the front and one little shift later you are right out the back. That’s when you know things are really competitive.
“Anyone can win a race and I’m thinking this will come down to the wire. In these conditions, it is about sailing the boat well. If you can do that, the points will look after themselves.”
By the end of the day, Oman Air had strengthened their position at the top of the leaderboard by jumping six points ahead of second placed SAP Extreme and seven in front of Alinghi.
But it was the ‘new kids on the block’ ChinaOne, skippered by Taylor Canfield that stole the show with two outright wins in the opening two races to finish in fifth place overall.
Their performance showed that all the teams are making gains in the new GC32s, said Oman Air’s Nasser Al Mashari, racing as ever with his powerhouse crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski.
“ChinaOne did really well today and it just shows that you have to work hard and keep your focus to avoid making mistakes and stay ahead of the game,” said Al Mashari.
“We are all new to these boats but with each event, we see improvements across the fleet. We are happy to be leading today but we take nothing for granted and with two days to go, it is all on.”
Oman Air, who also lead the 2016 overall leaderboard by two points, continue racing through to Sunday June 26.