On day two of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff, there were large crowds gathered to take in the UK stage of the global series. Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat delivered more consistent performances to secure second and third position overall after sixteen races.
Conditions started lighter than yesterday with a 6 – 8 knot breeze as the nine boat fleet lined up for racing right in the heart of Cardiff Harbour. The start and finish line was just metres from an excited crowd of fans taking in the event hosted for the first time in Wales.
Speaking dockside after racing The Wave, Muscat skipper Leigh McMillan commented, 'Yeah today was a better day, we still haven’t nailed everything 100% but we had some good races, we clocked up a few wins, but there are still things to improve on so we need to work on that tomorrow. We had a penalty decision that didn’t go our way with SAP, so that cost us on one of the races, but we came back strong on the next race and clocked up a win so we just need to stay focused. We feel better on the starts and it’s good to be back on the podium at the end of today, so overall a good day on the water.'
The first two races saw the Oman Sail teams struggle to find their form, some difficult starts resulted in frustration as they clocked up several mid-fleet results. The tables turned on the third race as overall series leader The Wave, Muscat delivered a faultless performance leading from start to finish to take their first win of the day. Oman Air also found their form, chasing hard on the heels of their team mates to score a third. From that point on both teams raised their game, with Oman Air recording two straight wins in races five and six today.
A close call with SAP Extreme Sailing Team in race six went against The Wave, Muscat, with a penalty turn awarded they could only play catch up at the back of the fleet and take home a frustrating ninth place. But The Wave, Muscat bounced back in race seven scoring another convincing win to bring them back up to third on the leader board overall.
'We had better starts today, we knew that was a problem for us yesterday so it was good to see that we’ve improved there, it is still a tight race course and although it was lighter today the breeze built as the day went on, so it’s still challenging and we just need to keep plugging away to be able to deliver consistent results. It’s good to see both Oman boats on the podium but we really want to beat The Wave at this event. We’ve trained together, we travel together and eat together at dinner every night, but the bottom line is they are the best team out here and so we want to make that step up and beat them,' Oman Air skipper Morgan Larsen.
An unlucky shift in the breeze on race seven saw a race winning position go the other way for the crew onboard Oman Air, as the crew battled to fight their way through the fleet. But a string of podium finishes keeps Oman Air in touch with Red Bull, with just nine points separating the two teams as they head into the third day of racing.
Nasser Al-Mashari, Oman Air: 'It was a good day for us overall and we were able to maintain our position on the leader board in second place. We could have won the penultimate race today, but the wind direction changed and all of a sudden we found ourselves trapped behind the other boats. However, the difference is small between ourselves and Red Bull so we have a chance to improve our position tomorrow and try to take the lead overall'.
Racing will start tomorrow (Saturday 1st) at 1400 (CEST – 1) local time in Cardiff.
Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Cardiff day two:
1 Red Bull Sailing Team 102 points
2 Oman Air Team 93 points
3 The Wave, Muscat 91 points
4 GAC Pindar 86 points
5 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 83 points
6 SAP Extreme Sailing Team 80 points
7 Alinghi 78 points
8 Team Wales 56 points
9 ZouLou 50 points
Extreme Sailing Series website
by Lucy Harwood
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9:57 PM Fri 31 Aug 2012GMT
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