Team Oman Air promise to bounce back in Extreme Sailing Series

Sports Saturday 29/April/2017 17:53 PM
By: Times News Service
Team Oman Air promise to bounce back in Extreme Sailing Series

Muscat: Typically challenging weather conditions in China's Olympic Sailing City of Qingdao left Team Oman Air frustrated but defiant after a mixed bag of results in the Extreme Sailing Series round two curtain raiser. Qingdao is notorious for delivering tricky sailing conditions that can change in an instant - and that's just what happened today as the Extreme Sailing Series and its rivalries resumed on Qingdao's waters.
After almost two hours of bobbing around waiting for enough wind to allow action to commence, a solid 15-knot breeze swept over the seven-strong fleet allowing three races to be held.
Oman Air started with trademark strength, opening their scorecard with a podium finish in race one behind rivals Alinghi and Red Bull Sailing Team.
But with the wind blowing through Qingdao's skyline of high-rise buildings the race course was anything but straightforward – and Oman Air had to settle for last place in race two after getting caught in a wind hole.
A fifth-place finish in the final race of the day sees Phil Robertson's men go into day two in an uncharacteristic fifth overall.
Despite being disappointed with their start to Act 2, skipper Robertson said his team of mainsail trimmer and tactician Pete Greenhalgh, headsail trimmer Ed Smyth and bowmen Nasser Al Mashari and James Wierzbowski would regroup and come back stronger when racing resumes tomorrow.
“We had a real stinker,” Robertson admitted. “The conditions were extremely difficult – very gusty, very shifty. It's really frustrating when it's like that because you can go from first to last really quickly. Every team had a bit of it but some were better than others.”
In contrast to the opening day's racing held in open water outside of Qingdao's Fushan Bay, the following three days of action will take place inside the harbour.
With limited room to manoeuvre and even greater disruptions to the wind, the new race course will bring a host of new challenges.
Reigning match racing world champion Robertson, who joins Oman Air as skipper for the 2017 season, said the team would look to find their form and claw back vital points on their rivals.
Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air's long-serving bowman, maintained his positive outlook: “Tomorrow's a new day. Stadium racing in the bay brings its own challenges with new and very tricky conditions, but we have three days ahead of us to make a difference in the standings.
Every day we improve and we will be looking to do that tomorrow. Tonight we will debrief with our coach, Marcus, and talk things through, each day is a fresh start and tomorrow we’ll just come out and go for it.”

Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey 34 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 30 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 30 points.
4th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Shane Diviney, Leonard Takahashi Fry, Josh Salthouse 26 points.
5th Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 24 points.
6th Team Extreme (CHN) Liu Xue (Black), Bernardo Freitas, Martin Evans, Rob Partridge, Tom Buggy 23 points.
7th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Chris Taylor, Will Alloway, Adam Kay, Sam Batten 22 points.