Please select your home edition
Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom LEADERBOARD

Neck and neck going into 2019 GC32 Racing Tour's Oman finale

by GC32 Racing Tour Media 29 Oct 2019 22:01 PDT 6-10 November 2019
Alinghi has taken GC32 racing to new levels of meticulousness this season. © Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour

After 73 races, across four events in three countries, the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour's finale, taking place next week in Oman, could not be closer.

Ernesto Bertarelli's GC32 World Champions Alinghi team and Oman Air, skippered by New Zealander Adam Minoprio, have been at each other's throats for the entire season and with two event wins and two seconds apiece. They are tied at the top of the leaderboard going into the final event. Technically Alinghi is first, but only through having won last month's event in Riva del Garda. Even at that event the two teams finished tied, Alinghi winning through having won the final race.

When the high performance flying one design catamarans race out of Muscat's Al Mouj Marina, over 5-9 November, the Oman Air crew will enjoy a home team advantage, having been racing on these waters for a decade, initially with the Extreme Sailing Series. However that was before Minoprio joined, although the New Zealander has competed here previously.

"It is going to be a fun final event in the hometown of our team," states Minoprio. "Of course we want to win the single event, but at the same time we want to keep an eye on Alinghi. We might just have to race them a bit to ensure we win the series. We are going to be neck and neck and it would be nice if it were a match race, but there are other boats there too and we don't want to finish at the back. We want to make sure we are on the podium, ahead of Alinghi."

With Minoprio and Peter Greenhalgh is Omani crew Nasser Al Mashari, who today is one of the longest serving crew having started sailing on board the Extreme 40s a decade ago.

Al Mashari says: "It is special, having the last event in Oman and it is still tight in the overall series with Alinghi, the strongest team in the fleet. So I am really excited and proud to be where we are. We hope to win, but Alinghi is a very strong challenger."

Having represented Oman at such a high level for so long, Al Mashari is something of a local legend in his country. "Our family and friends and our colleagues at Oman Sail will be there, so we will have a lot of support from them. We'll have the Oman flag up there..."

If Oman Air has spent the most time sailing in their country, Alinghi is close behind. "We love Oman - we spent quite a bit of time there, racing but also winter training," says Team Director Pierre-Yves Jorand. "It is a great venue but we have never sailed there in November. I'm sure there'll be an open course, sea breeze and some chop sometimes - we will be ready whatever the conditions. We can be sure it will be a super tight fight between the teams."

Looking in good shape to claim the GC32 Racing Tour's owner-driver championship for 2019 is Erik Maris' Zoulou team that leads Jason Carroll's Argo, having won the owner-driver trophy at all the events this year save for the GC32 World Championship in Lagos, Portugal. But as much as this, the French team is hungry to relieve Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher's Red Bull Sailing Team of the bottom step of the podium. They are currently just four points astern of the Austrians Olympic Tornado legends.

Hagara is hoping to make further gains for his team. "We are definitely looking forward to Oman. We have scored a few second and third places there, so we know it quite well! We have made a lot of improvements through the season and have shown in a few races that they [Alinghi and Oman Air] are beatable. We just have to minimise our mistakes - we are just missing a little bit, but we are closing."

Also looking to up their game for this final event of the season will be Christian Zuerrer's Black Star Sailing Team from Switzerland, to be steered in Oman by New Zealand's Chris Steele, which has been slowly improving over the course of its first season on the GC32 Racing Tour.

If conditions off Muscat in November are an unknown, the person who should know most about it is full time resident Oman Air's Nasser Al Mashari. "November conditions are really good - 24-25 degreesC, so not to hot and not too cold," he says. "And we'll see about the breeze. For us, we are ready for any conditions."

In fact the long range forecast looks excellent with 10-18 knot northeasterlies forecast for every day.

Full results available here.

2019 GC32 Racing Tour schedule:

  • 22-26 May: GC32 Villasimius Cup / Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy
  • 26-30 June: GC32 World Championship / Lagos, Portugal
  • 31 July-4 August: 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE / Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • 11-15 September: GC32 Riva Cup / Riva del Garda, Italy
  • 6-10 Nov: GC32 Muscat Cup / Muscat, Oman

Related Articles

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
Young Omani experiences GC32 Oman Cup racing
The young Omani won a competition to join the team on the water The young Omani won a competition to join the team on the water as the crew aims for a podium finish in the GC32 Racing Tour finale! Here's how the race action unfolded! Posted on 7 Nov 2019
GC32 Oman Cup day 1
Alinghi on World Championship winning form Regardless of what the wind was doing, the only consistency on the water was shown by Alinghi, where a lifetime of competing in the fickle winds of Lake Geneva clearly paid dividends today. Posted on 6 Nov 2019
Team Oman Air look forward to title decider
Winner-takes-all showdown in the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour Team Oman Air is getting ready for a dramatic winner-takes-all showdown in Muscat that will decide the outcome of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour title. Posted on 6 Nov 2019
GC32 Racing Tour 2019 finale - All in...
Fervour is rising on the docks of Muscat's Al Mouj marina Fervour is rising on the docks of Muscat's Al Mouj marina going into tomorrow's GC32 Oman Cup. This is the fifth and final of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour and among the participants is strong potential for match racing one another. Posted on 5 Nov 2019
GC32 Riva Cup overall
Alinghi claims GC32 Riva Cup by a whisker While Alinghi has led at the end of every day of racing at the 2019 GC32 Riva Cup, the Swiss team was on the ropes this afternoon when their arch-rivals Oman Air, in seemingly unbeatable form Posted on 15 Sep 2019
Naiad 660x82px_RescueHenri-Lloyd 2020 FOOTERRS Sailing 2019 - Footer