MUSCAT: The Oman Air team maintained their third place on the Extreme Sailing Series season leaderboard after a challenging and competitive encounter in Portugal.
On a fourth day at the Cascais venue that again featured close racing and plenty of high-speed foiling with the GC32 catamarans, the team succeeded in taking five podium places – including two second spots – in the six races held.
The Oman Air crew of skipper Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Stewart Dodson and James Wierzbowski had been able to resolve a mast set-up issue on the third day that had cost them speed and vital points. However, despite the series of strong results on the final day the team settled for fourth place on the Cascais table.
The Portugal Act was won by the ever consistent Alinghi team, ahead of the Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team and INEOS Rebels UK, helmed by one-time Oman Sail skipper Leigh McMillan.
“We were getting some pretty good results today. We sailed our socks off to get ahead of INEOS, but we had to put a boat between us to get the points, so it was a big ask,” said Greenhalgh, one of the most experienced sailors on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit.
The result sees Alinghi narrowly extend their lead at the top of the overall 2018 leaderboard with 45 points, with SAP on 44 and Oman Air completing the podium on 41, four points clear of INEOS.
Greenhalgh added: “As far as the season is concerned it is still all very close. We have just got to start winning the events to give ourselves a shot at winning overall – we will have a full debrief and make the changes we need to deliver that.”
With four Acts now completed the Extreme Sailing Series season continues next month in Cardiff, UK, followed by San Diego in the US and the finale in Los Cabos, Mexico, in late November. With the final event scoring double points there remains plenty of scope for change.
“Looking at the points on offer for each event we are now exactly half way through the season,” said Oman Air bowman Al Mashari.
“There is a long way to go and we will regroup and be focused on racing in Cardiff, and take the opportunity there to get close to the leaders,” he added. Racing in Cardiff is from August 24-27.