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Oman Air team aims to keep that winning feeling at Extreme Sailing Series finale

by Oman Sail 27 Nov 2018 03:30 PST 29 November - 2 December 2018
The fleet of race yachts crossing the start line on Day 1 of racing close to Los Cabos - Extreme Sailing Series 2017, Act 8 - 30th November- 3rd December 2017. Los Cabos, Mexico, Cabo San Lucas Resort. © Lloyd Images

Team Oman Air head to the final event of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series in Mexico aiming to repeat their recent success in the US and post back-to-back victories to end the season on a high.

A further regatta win in Los Cabos would move Oman Air up the season leaderboard, ensuring at least a second place overall and opening up the possibility of taking the 2018 title.

As the Extreme teams head out to the Baja California resort the Swiss crew on Alinghi top the table on 68 points, with the Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team second on 65 and Oman Air close behind with 63.

Unlike the six previous events this year – including the season opener in Muscat – the Mexican finale carries double points with 24 going to the winner.

"We are capable of winning the event this year, having come second in 2017 after being close to success," said long-standing Oman Air crew Pete Greenhalgh. "The goal is to finish the season on a high!"

Oman Air skipper Phil Robertson and Greenhalgh's teammates Stewart Dodson, James Wierzbowski and Nasser Al Mashari sailed smart and fast to win the last event in San Diego, taking victory by a single point ahead of long-time season leaders Alinghi.

They will hope to carry that winning momentum forward to Mexico while acknowledging that the odds of a last-gasp title upset are stacked against them.

However, a change in the fleet has introduced a new dynamic which could destabilise the existing order. Four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie is returning to the helm of INEOS Rebels UK for the first time this season, bringing senior members of his America's Cup squad with him.

While the British team are out of the running in the season standings, they could well play a part in knocking Alinghi down the rankings.

"It means there is another dynamic on the race course in Los Cabos which might give us a bit more of a chance," said Oman Air's bowman Al Mashari.

"We showed what we are capable of in San Diego, and we are ready to do it again in Mexico. We will go out, sail the best we can, and if we can win we will see how the other results fall."

Four days of high-speed GC32 foiling catamaran racing starts in Los Cabos on Thursday, November 29 and concludes on Sunday, December 2.

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