A nail-biting final day, waiting for breeze then trying to outmanoeuvre closest rival Alinghi, ended in a breathless victory for Oman Air in the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg which earned them their third Act win of the 2016 series.
When Alinghi crossed the finish line in third place, Morgan Larson and his crew were trailing in fifth place needing to make sure they held that position to the end to earn the Hamburg win.
If they dropped to sixth, they would have handed victory to the Swiss but with merely a puff behind them, Oman Air drifted over the line ahead of last placed Land Rover BAR to make certain of earning maximum points for the Hamburg Act, clinching it by a single point.
The light airs forecast turned into a frustrating reality for the fleet who kept focussed with three exhibition races with no points on offer but eventually, race officers were able to lay a course in the busy River Elbe for the final double points decider.
“We knew that if Alinghi put three boats between us, they would beat us,” explained skipper Larson.
“We had some different strategies but the wind came and went and Alinghi really used the shore for protection and got a nice wind shift and there they were, three boats ahead for the whole race.
“At one stage it looked like we would be last in the race but some good sailing on the final leg gave us the chance that we needed.
“It is a great feeling to have won because it is a challenging venue and today we really felt the pressure of waiting for a race and knowing that patience would prevail.
“We got a good jump early in the event but Alinghi sailed a spectacular day yesterday and put pressure on us. We knew it would be hard to defend our lead so it feels great to have won. It is finally sinking in that we won and it feels great.”
It was a nerve-racking day added Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air’s bowman.
“We are very happy and proud but it was a tough last day,” he said.
“When at last we got one race in, we tried our best to stay with Alinghi and it was hard but eventually we won the event by a point so we are very happy!”
The next Act will see Larson, Pete Greenhalgh and Al Mashari reunited with Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski in St Petersburg from Monday September 1 to Thursday September 4, with conditions on the Neva River set to give all the crews more challenges as they get to grips with winds and tides on another small city centre race course.
“This has been good training for St Petersburg because it is similar current similar sized venue and we will see a lot of the same,” added Larson.
by Oman Sail