Sailing: Exciting new challenges for Oman Air

Sports Monday 25/July/2016 20:07 PM
By: Times News Service
Sailing: Exciting new challenges for Oman Air

Muscat: The halfway point of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series will bring new challenges for Oman Air as they head to Hamburg in Germany to try to consolidate their position at the top of the table on a compact city centre race course which has become one of the trickiest on the circuit.
Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s but Oman Air skipper Morgan Larson says avoiding errors will still be the biggest challenge if they are to extend their overall lead with their third Act victory of the season.
"It will be challenging but that is exactly what we like,” he said.
“All the teams that struggled early on in the season are getting sharper but if we keep cool heads and focus on what we know we do well, we should be alright.
“Our crew mate James Wierzbowski was a member of the team that won the $1Million prize in the World Match Racing Tour Final recently so he is full of confidence and will be buying us dinner every night!”
Oman Air start the Act in Hamburg still buoyed by their emphatic win in Cardiff last month. They swept to victory in the season opener in Muscat, Oman and were runners up in Qingdao, China, in May and with 35 points have a three-point cushion over Red Bull Sailing Team in second place.
“Ideally we will pick up where we left off in Cardiff but we won’t be resting on our laurels,” said British mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh.
“There is still plenty to work on — we are a new team and still finding out about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and trying to work out what adjustments we should be making to sail the boat better.
“Every team is the same but the question is, are we doing more than they are to sail the boat better.
“The game is moving on and after each event everyone is debriefing and learning from their mistakes so even though no one is able to practice, we need to make sure we are doing more than everyone else.”
The Oman Sail squad has a 100 per cent win record in Hamburg after winning in 2015, which was the first time the German city hosted an Extreme Sailing Series event. The compressed race course and shifty conditions pose a major test for the crews as SAP Extreme Sailing Team discovered last year when they were dramatically upturned by a gust while gybing.
“It is a tight race course with a lot of tide and we are praying the wind blows in the right direction,” said Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air’s bowman who will have his eyes peeled for freak gusts and will be searching for breeze and speed.
Racing kicks off on Thursday on July 28 and continues through to Sunday July 31. The action takes place at the HafenCity waterfront in Hamburg.