Muscat: Team Oman Air maintained their grip on a podium place after a challenging third day at the Extreme Sailing Series in San Diego.
Breezy but changeable conditions again saw tightly contested races, with the harbour course generating numerous opportunities for big gains and sometimes even bigger losses among the fleet of high-speed foiling GC32 catamarans.
With a sequence of solid results including two second places, Phil Robertson’s crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski were able to hold off the dual threat to their third place from Red Bull Sailing Team and Land Rover BAR Academy.
In fact the tussle for the final podium place with Red Bull became one of the most intense competitions of the Act, with Oman Air emerging four points ahead.
Meanwhile, the early challenge from BAR faded slightly, and they finished the penultimate day a further 11 points behind Oman Air on the leaderboard.
The third day in southern California belonged to SAP Extreme Sailing Team who took four wins and two seconds in the seven races sailed. The Danish-flagged boat ended the day with a healthy and likely Act-winning 14 point advantage over early San Diego leaders Alinghi in second.
With only one more day to go in San Diego, thoughts are turning to the Extreme Sailing Series finale in Mexico next month.
Oman Air Bowman Al Mashari said: “On the last day we can make sure we stay on the podium here, and then go forward to Los Cabos in Mexico in touch with the leaders with every chance of taking the title.
“As we have found more than once in San Diego, what seems like a big lead on the water can disappear very quickly. There is a lot more racing to be done and we remain confident.”
Adding buckets of easy charm and effortless glamour to a hard day on the water, Rachel Hunter was Oman Air’s VIP guest today. The New Zealand born model, actress and TV presenter got a close-up view of the action on the first race of the day and came away smiling!
“It was amazing to experience the racing and how effortless the sailors make it all seem – the speed is just crazy. An amazing experience and an exhilarating feeling!”
In the accompanying Extreme San Diego Foil Kiteboarding invitational event, France’s Alex Mazella has established a substantial lead. He and several of the other competing riders will be heading to the Oman Sail organised Formula Kite World Championships in Muscat in November.