OMAN SAIL TEAMS FIGHT ON

MUSCAT: Oman Sail teams continued to impress in the opening Act of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) as The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air took the third and fifth positions, respectively, after the third day’s action in Singapore on Saturday.

Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team sailed smart and quite fast to finish in first and second places, respectively.

The tricky breeze on Marina Bay made it a tough day for the nine-team fleet and The Wave, Muscat had some hot competition for the top of the leaderboard while growing confidence among Stevie Morrison’s Oman Air crew inspired the team to maintain its fifth place.

The penultimate day saw the honours going to the Austrians on Red Bull Sailing Team, who lay down the marker to put them in pole position ahead of the final day of racing on Sunday. The three front-runners, including SAP Extreme Sailing Team and The Wave, Muscat, traded places throughout the day, but the double Olympic champion from Austria made all the right strategic decisions, getting off the start line well and barely putting a foot wrong to lead the fleet. With one day left on the compact stadium in Singapore, there is plenty to play for.

The experienced crew on The Wave, Muscat, which includes skipper Leigh McMillan, with Olympic double gold medallist Sarah Ayton calling the tactics, added two race wins to its tally, as did Gazprom Team Russia, which leads the pack chasing the podium in fourth place.

“We know from the past that the last day of the regatta is the most important one and we still have to keep it up,” said Red Bull skipper Roman Hagara after Saturday’s action. “It was an almost perfect day for us, a few little mistakes here and there, but if we do the same tomorrow, it’ll still be fine.”

Closing out the day with a race win after a tactically brilliant match race with Red Bull, SAP Extreme is now just three points behind the Austrians, with co-skipper Rasmus Kostner speaking candidly about his team’s main competition.

“We do look out for Red Bull and The Wave, Muscat. When we can make life difficult for them, we do,” Kostner said. “They are sailing well and of course we don’t want to let them through. We showed our consistency and we are happy with the finish we had today.”

Oman Air, under British Olympian Morrison, seem to be quickly getting to grips with the stadium racecourse as it rounded the day with a runner-up finish.

Standings [after day three]:

1 Red Bull Sailing Team (176 pts), 2 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (173), 3 The Wave, Muscat (161),

4 Gazprom Team Russia (148),

5 Oman Air (138), 6 Lino Sonego Team Italia (136), 7 GAC Pindar (124), 8 Beko Team Turx (119),

9 Team Aberdeen (113).

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY