A strong Lisbon breeze transformed the GC32 fleet into turbocharged speed machines but by the end of a spectacular day, the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard remained the same with Team Oman Air in third place and excited about the finale tomorrow.
After two days of Lisbon lull, the breeze kicked in with gusto driving the boats effortlessly onto their hydrofoils and giving a large international crowd one of the best displays of GC32 foiling so far this year.
Seven races were completed with Oman Sail’s Team Oman Air posting three podium positions to finish the day on 159 points, just 28 points behind leaders Alinghi and nine points behind second-placed Norauto, the wildcard French team acknowledged as one of the strongest crews in the GC32 class.
The conditions were superb and the racing frenzied and dynamic with starting tactics key to the success around the course, said Oman Air mainsail trimmer and tactician Pete Greenhalgh.
“We were sailing pretty well today – our boat handling was really good – and climbed back fairly well after some average starts,” he explained.
“You have to take some big risks when you are at the back of the pack so we are taking that as a positive. We were pretty quick but not as quick as the others which was frustrating.
“Alinghi’s starts were really solid and that was a big factor so it is no surprise they extended their lead but having said that we are really excited about tomorrow because the conditions are forecast to be the same.
“We will have the boat rejigged and start with a clean sheet. Our plan is to stick to the protocols that we know work and pick the others off one by one, grind them down.”
A maximum of 35 knots of boat speed was recorded on the race track today with similar conditions expected on the final day, setting the contest up for a thrilling finale.
“The conditions are fantastic and are giving us the opportunity to show what the boats are capable of,” said Omani bowman Nasser Al Mashari.
“The game has moved on in this fleet since the start of the year and we are seeing that all the boats are in contention. It is a lot of fun and a great learning curve.”
The Race Village is located at Doca Pedrouços where visitors can experience the full range of Extreme Sailing entertainment including a kids zone with commentary, a market and food stalls.
by Oman Sail