Muscat: The spellbinding rivalry between Oman Air and Alinghi tilted in the Swiss boat’s favour on Saturday in the Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series following another tough day on the River Neva in St Petersburg.
Light winds and a strong tide combined to test the fleet once more, with rhythm and consistency disrupted among even the most experienced crews as Oman Sail’s foiling GC32 Oman Air finished the third day in second place, adrift of Alinghi by four points with a day still to go.
For skipper Morgan Larson and his team of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari and James Wierzbowski, the mix of results with an outright win and a podium place jumbled up with lower finishes, have set things up nicely for a perfect finale on the last day.
Just 20 points separate the top four teams and the outcome of the St Petersburg Act could come down to the double points last race on Sunday.
“It was tricky out there today,” commented tactician/trimmer Greenhalgh.
“We got a bit tangled up, received a penalty, and didn’t really get our momentum going on the river today, plus the shore crew have some repairs to do again this evening so that we are race ready for the final day.
“We have to take the rough with the smooth and tonight we will have a good night’s sleep and come back tomorrow and sail well. We need to go into the last race with a good chance of winning and sail smart.”
The prospect of a hard fought four-way contest to decide the outcome was excellent motivation, added Al Mashari, Oman’s number one bowman.
“This race course in St Petersburg is one of the hardest on the Extreme Sailing circuit,” he said.
“So we are happy with our position going into the final day and know we have what it takes to see it through to the end.”
Racing concludes on Sunday 4.