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Team Oman Air eyeing GC32 Racing Tour title
November 9, 2019 | 6:37 PM
by Times News Service
At the Oman Cup’s half-way point Team Oman Air are in fourth place, though hard on the heels of the Austrian flagged Red Bull Sailing Team, with the French team on Zoulou currently second.
 
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Muscat: Team Oman Air remain determined to stake their claim for the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour title after a challenging two days of racing on their home waters off Muscat.

At the half-way point of the Oman Cup – the winner takes all finale of the season-long international series – the crew have ground to make up on their Swiss rivals racing Alinghi, the only other team that can win the overall GC32 Racing Tour.

After light winds on the first day, the second saw a stronger and more variable breeze with the resulting unsettled seas and big waves off Al Mouj Muscat combining to deliver a race course that fully tested the fleet of high-speed foiling catamarans that can easily hit speeds of over 30 knots.

Close quarter sailing in these challenging conditions required split-second timing, with even the normally neat Alinghi collecting two penalty points after an incident with Team Oman Air, who also received a single penalty point.



And with five podium finishes to their credit from the nine Oman Cup races held so far, and with 10 more planned before Saturday’s conclusion, the crew of skipper Adam Minoprio, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Stewart Dodson and James Wierzbowski are targeting a change in their fortunes to close the 13-point deficit to event leaders Alinghi.

“It is really close racing, and really tough racing, and you get rewarded for making good decisions and punished for making bad ones,” said Minoprio speaking after the second day of racing on Thursday. “It was challenging but safe and fun, though it’s always more fun when your winning.



“As a team Oman Air had a tough day, it just felt we could never get the shifts to go our way, and nothing seemed to favour us today unfortunately.”

But the determined New Zealander, a former World Match Racing champion, added: “For sure we can take a lot from the day though and learn from it. Our tacks and gybes were good all day, I think it was me who let the team down today, just not being on the money with the shifts or being in the right place on the course.”

With victories earlier in the season at events in Sardinia and Mallorca, the experienced Team Oman Air crew went in to the Muscat decider neck-and-neck and level on points with Alinghi on the overall 2019 leaderboard.

At the Oman Cup’s half-way point Team Oman Air are in fourth place, though hard on the heels of the Austrian flagged Red Bull Sailing Team, with the French team on Zoulou currently second.

“We have some work to do to move up the leaderboard,” said long-standing Omani crew Al Mashari. “But we have two more days of racing to go, and it is great to be able to race in front of our home fans. Hopefully we will be able to take the opportunity to show them what we are capable of.”

Racing at the GC32 Oman Cup, which has been jointly organised with Oman Sail, continues until Saturday with the support of host venue partners EFG Private Banking, Oman Air, the Amouage fragrance brand and the Sultanate’s Ministry of Tourism.



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