LOS CABOS, Mexico: Team Oman Air have finished the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series as runners-up after a challenging light wind season finale in Mexico.
The lack of a sailing breeze at the Los Cabos venue restricted racing, with only 12 races held over the four days of the deciding event of the campaign.
Having led going into the final day Oman Air slipped back to third place, but crucially were able to finish ahead of season-long rivals SAP Extreme Sailing Team, allowing them to leapfrog the Danish team in the overall season standings.
The Omani crew of skipper Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, Stewart Dodson, James Wierzbowski and Nasser Al Mashari finished the season level with SAP on 83 points, taking second place thanks to their better result in Los Cabos.
The Extreme Sailing Series title went to the Swiss crew on Alinghi, the long-standing season leaders who won again in Mexico – their fifth victory of the year from seven events – to take the trophy with 92 points.
“We didn’t win the Act here, but we led for a couple of days which is pretty good,” said Greenhalgh, Oman Air’s mainsail trimmer.
“It was a brilliant achievement to get in front of SAP as we were a notch behind them in the early part of the season. But we managed to close the gap. To have four days of such light winds is very unusual, so to get second overall was a real achievement for us at the end of the season.”
In Los Cabos, Alinghi revelled in the light conditions and pulled out all the stops to win the last three races to top the table ahead of Austria’s Red Bull Sailing Team, who had their best result of the year. Oman Air completed the podium thanks to finishing ahead of SAP in fourth.
The Omani boat had headed down to Mexico having won the penultimate Extreme Sailing Series event in San Diego, putting them within striking distance of the Danish team.
“Our main aim in Mexico was to finish the regatta here in front of SAP, as we knew that if we could do that we would be second in the season,” said Oman Air’s bowman Al Mashari.
“We of course hoped that we might be able to get in front of Alinghi as well, but that was not possible though we tried. They are very, very good in light winds, and they showed that over the four days.”
In the final overall standings, Red Bull finished the season in fourth place, ahead of INEOS Rebels UK and Team Mexico.