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Team Oman Air aims to strengthen grip on GC32 Racing Tour title

by Oman Sail 9 Sep 23:32 PDT 11-15 September 2019
Oman Air at GC32 Racing Tour - Villasimius Cup © Vincent Curutchet / Lloyd Images / Oman Sail

Team Oman Air is heading to Italy and aiming for back to back victories to strengthen their position in the lead of the GC32 Racing Tour. A winning performance at the last event, the Copa Del Rey MAPFRE regatta in the Majorcan capital Palma, saw them go top of the 2019 Tour leaderboard.

However, after three closely fought regattas they are tied on points overall with their long-standing Swiss rivals on Alinghi and will be looking for a win at this week's GC32 Riva Cup event on Lake Garda to confirm their advantage.

It's a target and a location that motivates the entire crew says Pete Greenhalgh, Oman Air's tactician and mainsail trimmer.

"As a venue, Garda is off the scale, we love it - it's a mix of a decent and reliable breeze and flat water, it's just a great combination," he says of the conditions which can see the foiling GC32 catamarans reach speeds of up to 40 knots.

"The win in Palma has definitely put a spring in our step, and we also discovered a few things there as well, particularly that we do have the edge over Alinghi is some conditions, which is what we have been looking for throughout the season. We are keen to keep that momentum going and just keep pushing."

A win on the striking Lake Garda would set the Oman Air team of Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott and skipper Adam Minoprio up to clinch the 2019 Tour title at the final event on home waters in Muscat in November.

"Alinghi have probably sailed more events on Lake Garda than we have, but Adam has just raced there so he will be pretty dialled in to the place and he knows what to expect," said Greenhalgh. "We are looking for a win of course, and we just have to go there and beat Alinghi, and then we will have the showdown in Oman."

It's a goal shared by long-standing team member Al Mashari. He said: "The prospect of being able to take the title on home waters in Muscat is absolutely special - with the long support of our sponsors and the project as a whole as well, it would be amazing to be able to do it there.

"Muscat has been the host for the first race of the season many times, but never for the last, so that makes it even more important as well."

Team Oman Air - which is also supported by EFG Private Bank Monaco - lead the Tour by virtue of their victories in Palma and the season's first event in Sardinia, though neck and neck on five points with Alinghi, winner of the second Tour event. Austria's Red Bull Sailing Team are third with 12 points.

Four days of racing for the GC32 Riva Cup starts on Lake Garda on September 12th.

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