Extreme Sailing Series - Strong day 1 for Oman Air
by Lucy Harwood on 31 Aug 2012
Day one of racing in Cardiff for Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series didn’t disappoint as the fleet took on some big breeze on one of the toughest race courses of the series so far. Oman Air delivered a strong performance today and hold second place overall with 50 points after eight races. The Wave, Muscat had a more challenging day and finished fifth with 43 points.
The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air racing in Cardiff on Day 1 Lloyd Images © http://lloydimagesgallery.photoshelter.com/
Fast and furious racing filled Cardiff Harbour as the nine crews battled to keep control in gusty conditions as they sailed close to the shore line.
'It was a good day generally we had some strong starts, it’s great to get some wins especially as it was pretty gusty out there. We took advantage of some mistakes by other crews, but the start is crucial and it’s clear that any mistake will be punished hard. We had some great tactics and boat handling, the team did a great job out there today so I’m really pleased. We didn’t get everything right so we need to go back and look at the tactics for tomorrow, but we have no boat damage so we are pleased to have survived a tough first day and it is great to be second going into tomorrow’s racing,' Oman Air, skipper Morgan Larsen.
The Wave, Muscat headed into the first day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff as favourites, with three straight wins at back to back events, the pressure was on to stay on top of the leader board. But Cardiff is proving to be a challenging venue with a small race course area and strong winds, which allow little room for error in boat handling, tactics and maneuvers.
Speaking after racing today The Wave, Muscat skipper Leigh McMillan commented, 'It was definitely a challenging day out there, we had a good first few races and some wins, but the day just didn’t go our way after that. We made a few mistakes out on the race course, we pushed too hard on a couple of starts which meant we paid for that by being over the line. So we didn’t find that consistency that we know we can deliver. The wind direction was also a challenge today as the course didn’t allow for a lot of over-taking so any mistakes are costly and trying to play catch up is hard. But we learnt a lot today, we’ve had challenging days before, so we just need to re-group and turn it on tomorrow.'
Both teams had a strong start, with each crew clocking up two wins in the first four races. Small errors on the start line cost The Wave, Muscat dearly and they were forced to play catch up, losing valuable points in two races today. The gusty conditions proved tricky and mistakes for all teams were costly. Delivering consistent performances proved to be difficult as multiple teams took home race wins, with the crews working hard to keep the boats in one piece and under control.
Hashim Al Rashdi, The Wave, Muscat, 'We had a good start with some first places at the beginning of the day, but then we were over on the start line twice, which badly affected our position overall today. Taking into consideration that the race course is very tight, it is one of the toughest race courses we have faced so far which made it difficult to comeback quickly. Although we have had some good training here during the past three days, sometimes you just can’t control it. However, it is just the first day and we still have a big chance to change everything with three days still left of racing.'
Nasser Al Mashary, Oman Air, 'We started our first day in Cardiff with a fifth in race one, but we won the next two races and we are now second overall. We tried to avoid making mistakes as much as possible and take advantage of the other teams’ mistakes because making a mistake in such a tight course and strong wind will definitely make difficult for any team to come back again. However, we are still at the beginning and we have three days ahead so we’ll try to maintain our performance and improve our position over the days ahead.'
Tomorrow’s forecast is for lighter conditions with more consistent breeze, racing will start at 1400 (CEST – 1) local time in Cardiff.
Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Cardiff day one:
1 Red Bull Sailing Team 55 points
2 Oman Air Team 50 points
3 GAC Pindar 50 points
4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team 44 points
5 The Wave, Muscat 43 points
6 Alinghi 39 points
7 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 36 points
8 ZouLou 22 points
9 Team Wales 20 Extreme Sailing Series website