Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour 2015 – Oman Sail’s GC32 Sultanate of Oman created a slice of sporting history today when they became first ever champions after competition on the final day of Marseille One Design had to be cancelled due to risky conditions.
The last day of Marseille was also the final day of the 2015 season for the GC32 fleet and although they ventured out to the race track, winds exceeding 30 knots, gusting even higher and set to strengthen, prevented any action, leaving Sultanate of Oman in third place behind Alinghi and Spindrift but with enough points overall to be crowned series champions.
A clash of fixtures in the racing calendar meant Sultanate of Oman’s regular skipper Leigh McMillan was in Istanbul notching up more points towards the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series title but stand in skipper Nathan Outteridge, the Australian Olympian and America’s Cup sailor, was thrilled to have stepped in to complete McMillan’s triumphant tour.
“It’s been great to fill in for Leigh – we were keen to do well here in Marseille for Oman and to finish the season on a high, so it has been nice to have been able to do that and to win the season title for the Sultanate,” he said.
“The conditions were pretty full on today but that is what these boats are designed for. They are designed to go fast and sail on the edge and we absolutely loved it out there.”
Outteridge was racing with Iain Percy, Iain Jensen, Kalle Torlen and Luke Parkinson, and had never competed in a GC32 before Marseille One Design. Their achievement in taking Sultanate of Oman across the ultimate finish line was all the more remarkable for that, according to an upbeat McMillan, who was immediately on the phone with a message of congratulations.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Nathan and the boys managed to get into the boat and to master it so quickly – they really managed to jump in and perform right out of the bag,” he said.
“The crew and I were sorry not to be there ourselves to finish up what has been a great season of racing but what better team to stand in for us.
“It has been fantastic to have been able to race the Extreme Sailing Series and the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour in parallel and to have been able to reap the rewards on both circuits for Oman.
“The GC32 is an excellent platform and we have had some superb racing. Congrats to Nathan and the team – we are delighted with the result.”
Sultanate of Oman started their 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour with a four-day introduction to foiling in the Solent before the first event on Lake Traunsee in Austria got underway.
“It has been an awesome season,” said Leigh’s bowman Nasser Al Mashari who had his hands full in Istanbul today where they won the Bosphorus race this morning on The Wave, Muscat. “I am so proud for my country, this is another great win for the Sultanate of Oman. We are working hard to add the Extreme Sailing Series title to our successful year.”
McMillan’s crew for the season comprised Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari and Ed Smyth from his Extreme 40 team plus some specialist foiling expertise in America’s Cup sailor Alister Richardson.
But the inclusion of Australian foiling professional Glenn Ashby for the opening event underpinned a strong start to the series and the Omani boat swept to a convincing victory which was followed up in Cowes with a second place, despite McMillan breaking his hand.
Consistency proved key and a third place in Kiel then a second victory in Rome kept Sultanate of Oman at the top of the overall leaderboard going into the final event, with Swiss rivals Alinghi breathing down their necks.
After a fierce tussle in Marseille, Alinghi emerged as event winners but Oman’s third place gave them the overall championship by a single point with Spindrift taking the final podium place.
by Oman Sail