unnamed(1)The Omani sailing teams reveled in the glorious breezy conditions on Cardiff Bay on day three of the Extreme Sailing Series. Having started the day with a first race win and then a second place, Stevie Morrison and team on Oman Air were put out of contention when a winch pulled out of the boat, putting an end to their stunning performance. Elsewhere in the Oman Sail squad, teammates on The Wave, Muscat kept the momentum of the first two days going with a series of impressive results that included a first and a second. They now lead Act 4 by 15pts from SAP Extreme Sailing Team going into tomorrow’s final races.

Stevie Morrison and his Oman Air team crewed by Ali Al Balushi, Ed Powys, Nic Asher and Ted Hackney put yesterday’s disappointing performance behind them and in the opening race were unstoppable and notably fast downwind.

In the fresh south-westerly breeze gusting 23 knots at times, they led the race more or less from start to finish and then went on to add a second place to an impressive scoreline in the fourth race of the day. Their luck came to an abrupt halt though halfway through race five when a winch failed putting them out of racing for the rest of the day.

Morrison commented: “These boats get a lot of use and are under high loads and these things sometimes happen. Although everything is constantly maintained unfortunately something went wrong today and it is not a quick fix… We will be ready tomorrow.”

Chatting about their significantly improved performance today, Morrison added: “Yesterday we were last at the first mark in most of the races, so the aim today was to pull ourselves together. Thankfully it worked well and we led at the first mark in three of the four races we completed. That was a great result for the guys – it is good for morale. Sadly, having missed four races today, our podium position looks fairly unachievable now so tomorrow we’ll be looking at a good day of practice ready for the next stop in Hamburg.”

Teammates Leigh McMillan, Nasser Al Mashari, Pete Greenhalgh, Sarah Ayton, and Ed Smyth on The Wave, Muscat continued to dominate proceedings. Although they had a couple of less impressive starts today, they managed to bounce back.

After another physically demanding day on the water, Ayton – the only female in the competition – explained what process they have in place to improve their performance race-by-race: “We have a quick de-brief after each round and chat about the things we could improve on, and then execute in the next race.”

Looking ahead at the team approach as they enter the final day, Ayton said it’s all about taking one step at a time: “As we reach the halfway stage tomorrow we can then start being a bit more strategic, but the first few races will be about getting good starts, and focusing on the process rather than the outcome.”

Commenting on sailing on home waters in the fantastic stage setting in Cardiff Bay, Ayton added: “It is a great atmosphere with so many supporters. All of our families are here and it is really great to see so many people turn out to watch all the excitement – this is what it is all about really, bringing sailing close in to the shore, inspiring people and drawing them to our sport.”

Nasser Al Mashari who learned his professional skills as bowman through the Oman Sail Programme said he is delighted to be in such a prominent position as The Wave, Muscat enters the final day of racing: “The wind is very shifty here so I think we sailed well today. It is great that we have retained our overall lead and we are looking forward to doing even better tomorrow.”



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