Sailing: Oman Air maintain lead but wary of chasing pack at Hamburg

Sports Friday 29/July/2016 21:34 PM
By: Times News Service
Sailing: Oman Air maintain lead but wary of chasing pack at Hamburg

Muscat: Oman Sail’s crew on Oman Air came face to face with some of Hamburg’s infamous challenges today but still came away with five podium positions, including three outright wins to maintain their overall lead in the Extreme Sailing Series in Germany.
All seven teams made it onto the podium at some stage during the seven race programme, reflecting the degree of difficulty in achieving any sort of consistency in a very shifty and unstable breeze that topped out at a bracing 14 knots when all the GC32s catamarans took off on their foils and flew around the race course.
Morgan Larson’s team opened the second day of racing with a runners-up place which was promptly followed by their first victory of the afternoon, a resounding 40 second win over SAP Extreme Sailing Team, their strongest rivals throughout the day.
There were two more Oman Air firsts including a 61 second win, again over SAP Extreme Sailing Team to bring day 2 to a close, by which time, their lead at the top of the table had extended to 12 points over Alinghi who posted two wins.
“It was very hard but very good out there today. On such a tight race course, there is a lot of action,” said Omani bowman Nasser Al Mashari.
“It was quite breezy and shifty but for us so far so good! We are looking forward to tomorrow!”
Crew work and communication on Oman Air remained a ‘work in progress’ added mainsail trimmer and tactician Pete Greenhalgh who’s input on a day like today was a game changer and although they were winning, there was still a way to go before they could boast a flawless performance.
“We are still gelling as a team so there is still a lot of refining to do,” he said.
“The secret to success on this race course is to get your head out of the boat looking up the track and be flexible on your plan and if things don’t go to plan, seek out other opportunities very quickly because there always are plenty of opportunities.
“If you are at the front, things are definitely never comfortable and if you are at the back, things can open up for you. Even if you get 10 to 15 points ahead in this fleet, that lead can disappear instantly if you don’t come out firing on all cylinders.
“It is never comfortable until it is over so the plan is always to keep it simple and sail the boat nice and consistently,” Greenhalgh said.
Racing continues on Saturday and Sunday.