Heart rates soar as Oman Air raises the bar at Extreme Sailing Series
Oman Air raised the bar in Cardiff when they unleashed another level of performance to earn four outright wins, including three in three races, to reinforce their position at the top of the Extreme Sailing Series.
Morgan Larson’s crew enjoyed an impressive and unbeatable run of form late afternoon to boost their total points for the day by 73, giving them a 17-point cushion over second placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team with one day of racing remaining.
Teamwork, boat-handling and starts were good and the podium points started to mount up with a victory in the opening race of the day then three stunning wins in consecutive races and a close second to ChinaOne at the end.
“It was a wild day and although it took a while to get the starts right, the team dug in deep – their boat handling and athleticism pulled us through,” said skipper Morgan Larson.
“It was important but not easy to stay out of trouble in tho
se big gusts and the heart rate was right up there! If we are going to win tomorrow, we need to keep it clean and avoid any penalties. If we can keep our foot on the throttle and do what we’ve been doing, hopefully the result should take care of itself.”
One of the secrets to their success, revealed Pete Greenhalgh, was an ability to stay calm when things don’t go their way.
“It can be upsetting when you lose places or earn a penalty but you just have to reset and the quicker you reset the better you do. If you let something like that trip you up it will just ricochet into the rest of the races and your results but resetting is what we do particularly well.”
“Today we had some good starts and found our way down the runs nicely. We picked the wind and marks and kept it as clean and tidy as we could. Everyone stuck to their jobs when it got a bit crazy which is one of our strong points.”
As well as the regular crew of Larson, Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski, Oman Air entertained Cardiff Blues rugby player Alex Cuthbert as their guest for a whizz around the bay.
“Alex is a big strapping bloke and was game to get involved so we had him hiking out a little bit and Pete put him on the handles to grind,” explained Larson.
“By the end, he was a bit tired but we earned the respect of one rugby player today and demonstrated that sailing is a physical sport!”
Conditions for the final day of racing in Cardiff are expected to be equally demanding but Nasser Al Mashari, one of the fittest and strongest athletes in the entire Extreme Sailing Series fleet, was confident of firing on all cylinders to the end.
‘This was probably one of our best days on the GC32 this season, it was tough, but it all came together and we are very happy with how things are evolving so hopefully we can repeat them on the final day,’ he said.
Oman Air, who also lead the 2016 overall leaderboard by two points, continue racing on Sunday June 26 with the final race earning double points. Fans can watch the racing live on the official YouTube channel at 1530-1700 BST daily. In the UK, they can also watch it live on BT Sport.
by Oman Sail