Please select your home edition
RS Sailing 2020 - Summer Offer - LEADERBOARD

Crossed swords between Oman and Switzerland at 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE

by GC32 Racing Tour 2 Aug 2019 12:29 PDT 31 July - 4 August 2019
Upwind starts were the order for day three of GC32 competition at Copa del Rey MAPFRE. © Tomas Moya / Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour

Some hair-raisingly close crosses between Oman Air and Alinghi summed up just how tight the battle for supremacy is between these two top-flight teams duelling each other at the 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE, third event of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour. Adam Minoprio might have again steered the Omani boat to three victories from five heats today, but Arnaud Psarofaghis notched up a cleaner set of results to close in on their rivals by a single point on the leaderboard.

With five races held in a moderate breeze of around 10 knots, on two occasions Oman Air and Alinghi found themselves on a collision course as they screamed in towards the leeward gate at a combined speed exceeding 45 knots. They foiled past each other, just centimetres apart on opposite gybes and speared out to opposite corners of the final windward leg.

The first time they crossed swords in such dramatic fashion, Alinghi came off best as they narrowly beat Oman Air across the finish line. In the final race, the two boats couldn't have been more even at the top gate for the last blast downwind.

Oman Air's Pete Greenhalgh explained: "We were bow-to-bow at the top mark and split different ways down the run, and then came back no more than two boat lengths ahead at the finish line. We didn't know we'd won that race until maybe the final 20 seconds."

Psarofaghis mirrored Greenhalgh's feeling about the close contest: "A really nice day of racing, and a really good fight at the leeward gates. I prefer the upwind starts over the reaching starts because they give more opportunity for the fleet to play the whole course. In the reaching starts, the order is more or less decided at the first mark and there is less opportunity for overtaking."

He was pleased to have won the day, but Psarofaghis knows Alinghi will have to be at the peak of their powers to recover their three point deficit on Oman Air. Greenhalgh hinted at some match racing for the final outing on Saturday: "We tried to camp on Alinghi and help the Spanish get through to second [in race 14]. Upwind we reached off and gave Iker [Martinez, skipper of M&G Tressis Silicius] as much of a good lane as we could, to help them where we could, but Alinghi got them by one or two lengths on the finish line. I'm sure Alinghi have done a little bit of the same to us, but that's the game. Tomorrow we'll see a bit more of that."

Red Bull Sailing Team started the regatta looking like genuine contenders for the top spot, but have fallen away from the leading two on the points board. Meanwhile Zoulou have upped their game and matched Roman Hagara's Austrian team for performance today, both crews coming away with 18 points from the day. After winning the last race of Thursday's session, Erik Maris was quick out of the blocks this afternoon, coming second in the first race and third in the next. With just a day of racing remaining, however, it will be a tall order for the French to overcome the 10 point advantage still held by Red Bull in the rankings.

M&G Tressis Silicius bounced back from their gear failure problems on day two with some encouraging moments, particularly the third place that was so nearly a second place in front of Alinghi, as Greenhalgh mentioned earlier. Martinez is a pedigree sailor who will be doing everything to upset the pecking order on the final day, particularly when he's playing in front of his home crowd in Palma.

Black Star Sailing Team are having their moments, particularly with some strong starts for new helmsman, match racer Keith Swinton from Australia. Team owner, Christian Zuerrer, is frustrated they're not able to convert good starts into good finish positions, but is still focusing on the areas where they're improving: "It was great sailing, but we didn't have our best day. Our starts are good, but we struggle a bit with trim in these choppy waves. Sometimes we find the power, sometimes we have no power. In the smaller breezes when you make a mistake the bigger teams are gone, but in the stronger wind there is always a chance they could still make a mistake. So I hope for more breeze on the final day."

Today's conditions were perfect for some GC32 Racing Tour guest entertainment and one of the VIPs who went for a ride on Oman Air was 14-year-old María Perelló, a triple world champion in the Optimist who was enjoying her first time on a foiling boat. "The GC32 is more than four times faster than an Optimist. It is a much more complex boat, much more physical and the loads on a GC32 are enormous. That was an amazing experience that I will never forget."

The 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE concludes on Saturday afternoon and then closes out with a lavish prizegiving hosted by the King of Spain at Palma's Ses Voltes.

Copa del Rey MAPFRE - Day 3 Highlights

Best shots from the 'white' gala dinner hosted at the Real Club Nautico de Palma last night - By Icarus Sports

Results after Day 3:

1Oman Air13132111323131127
3Red Bull Sailing Team21243224254425345
5Black Star Sailing Team44555555746646576
6M&G Tressis Silicius56666777775563689

Related Articles

Team ROCKWOOL Racing to hit Danish waters
An action-packed summer of training, racing and record attempts ROCKWOOL announces a unique collaboration with the Denmark SailGP Team athletes, kicking off with an action-packed summer of training, racing and record attempts in preparation for SailGP Season 2 in April 2021. Posted on 27 May
GC32 Racing Tour makes the most of 2020
A fresh plan for the 2020 GC32 Racing Tour During a recent multi-nation video conference between the Tour's organisers and ten of the foiling catamaran teams, a fresh plan for the 2020 GC32 Racing Tour was agreed upon. Posted on 18 May
GC32 Oman Cup cancelled due to coronavirus
Following recommendations from Oman's Ministry of Health Due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and following recommendations from Oman's Ministry of Health, the opening event of the 2020 GC32 Racing Tour in Muscat has been cancelled. Posted on 12 Mar
Red Bull Sailing launch GC32 Racing Tour Campaign
Last season of competition for double Olympic Champions Hagara and Steinacher Red Bull Sailing's second season in the GC32 Racing Tour will be momentous. After taking third place on the championship podium in their debut 2019 campaign, the team from Austria is back with a seasoned crew and a determination to push to the top. Posted on 9 Mar
Less than a month to go to GC32 Oman Cup
The big players are set to return to the battlefield The big players are set to return to the battlefield in one month's time when high speed foiling catamaran competition gets under way at the GC32 Oman Cup, first of five events comprising the 2020 GC32 Racing Tour. Posted on 28 Feb
GC32 Racing Tour 2020 announced
High adrenalin flying catamaran competition is again the menu At the beginning of 2019 the circuit for the sole large flying catamaran class to be endorsed by World Sailing, inherited some powerful entries from the now defunct Extreme Sailing Series. Posted on 18 Dec 2019
Oman Air finishes 2nd overall in GC32 Racing Tour
The four days of racing off Al Mouj Marina in Muscat tested the fleet of international crews The GC32 Racing Tour Oman Cup has been hailed as a great success, following exciting and highly competitive sailing in Muscat. Posted on 9 Nov 2019
GC32 Oman Cup overall
Clean sweep for Alinghi as she claims 2019 GC32 Racing Tour In yet another flawless display by the world's top catamaran sailing team, Alinghi today won the GC32 Oman Cup and the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour. Posted on 9 Nov 2019
GC32 Oman Cup day 3
Oman Air begins her ascent While it may have been their turn to be top scoring boat on day three of the GC32 Oman Cup, the maths is not looking great for Oman Air in their fight with Alinghi to become 2019 GC32 Racing Tour champions. Posted on 8 Nov 2019
GC32 Oman Cup day 2
Zoulou warriors beat the drum in Oman The breeze for day two of the GC32 Oman Cup was just that vital couple of knots more, allowing the catamarans to fly fully, were it not for the unusually large sea state running off Muscat's shore. Posted on 7 Nov 2019
Cyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERHenri-Lloyd 2020 FOOTERRS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTER