GC32 Racing Tour: Oman Air aims to keep winning rhythm

A file photo of Oman Air team in action during the GC32 Racing Tour earlier this year

With a close battle for the overall honours expected to last till the final event in Muscat in November, both  Oman Air and Alinghi are looking to make an impact in the penultimate leg of the GC32 Racing Tour - GC32 Riva Cup event on Lake Garda in Italy - starting on Thursday. A win in Riva Cup could be crucial to both as they chase the season-ending top prize.

Oman Air goes into the Italy leg high on confidence after winning the last leg during the Copa Del Rey MAPFRE regatta in the Majorcan capital Palma in Spain and will hope to keep its winning rhythm ahead of the grand finale in Muscat in November.

Both Oman Air and Swiss team Alinghi are tied at the top of overall standings with five points each and are followed by Red Bull Sailing Team with 12 after three closely-fought regattas.

Oman Air's tactician and mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh said, “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.”

With conditions favourable, the ultra-high speed one-design foiling catamaran boats can reach speeds of up to 40 knots during the four-day racing, which will be held from September 12.

“The win in Palma has definitely put a spring in our step. We also discovered a few things there and we have an edge over Alinghi is some conditions. We are keen to keep the winning momentum and just keep pushing for better results.”

A win on Lake Garda would give Oman Air team of Greenhalgh, Nasser al Mashari, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott and skipper Adam Minoprio the advantage to wrap the title on home waters in November.

“Alinghi have probably sailed more events on Lake Garda than we have, but Adam [Minoprio] has just raced there so he will be pretty dialled in to the place and he knows what to expect,” said Greenhalgh.

Mashari said, “The prospect of being able to take the title on home waters in Muscat is absolutely special. It would be amazing to be able to do it but before that we need to keep up the good work in Italy.”

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