Oman Sail teams maintain top positions


The Wave,Muscat and Oman Air in action. Pic: Supplied

Roi De Janerio: The Extreme Sailing Series resumed at its most glamorous venue yet: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air trying to defend their first and second positions respectively at the top of the overall leader-board going into this last regatta of the 2012 season, both maintained their places after six races, although Oman Air's Rio debut was considerably more drama-filled than her crew would have liked.

In race five, Morgan Larson's team was involved in a collision with Red Bull Sailing Team as the Austrian Extreme 40, skippered by two time Olympic Tornado gold medallist Roman Hagara, crashed into Oman Air's starboard transom during a mark rounding.

As Oman Air crewman, Nasser Al Mashari explained: "We came into the gate and Red Bull was pushing us to give them plenty of room and they crashed into us from the back." Skipper Morgan Larson added: "It was very obvious that we had to give them room to round the mark, so we gave them plenty of room, but they chose not to take the room and continued straight to come in behind us and clipped our transom."

Fortunately on finishing they were able to lash up the damage, allowing them to soldier around the course in the final race of the day. "Fortunately in the last race there was a bit less wind otherwise we wouldn't have been able to sail," admitted Al Mashari. Despite this incident, having won race four Oman Air no lie fifth overall in Rio, but significantly they are now tied on points with Hagara's team who represent the main threat to Oman Air's second place in the 2012 overall championship.

"It was not a bad day," summarised Al Mashari. "We are in a good position, except for the accident. Now we will take the boat out and try and fix it with our shore team. It will be a full night's work, but it will be okay for tomorrow." Fortunately Joe Lees and his Omani shore team are well versed in this work: it is the third significant transom repair job they have had to undertake this season.

Racing was scheduled to be held out at sea today, but as there was no wind there the course was moved back to Flamengo Beach inside the harbour, where it will remain for the next three days. Here there was 12-15 knots of wind, but Rio's dramatic surroundings, including the magnificent Sugarloaf Mountain, made conditions testing for the crews with a mix of strong gusts and lulls.

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