Sultanate of Oman gained a firm foothold on the GC32 fleet in Civitavecchia closing the first day of racing in the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour’s Trofeo di Roma in second place and intent on ‘coming out fighting’ over the next few days.
Blue sunny skies greeted the fleet of five GC32s in the popular Italian resort, which lies 50 kilometres northwest of Rome and a robust breeze of around 10 knots gave Leigh McMillan and his Sultanate of Oman crew the start they were looking for.
They followed up a close second in the opening race with an out and out win in the second which put them at the top of the leaderboard but as the wind died, and the conditions became increasingly tricky, winning became a more complicated game where points were easily conceded.
A trio of third places left McMillan and his team of Peter Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Ed Smyth and Alister Richardson in second place overall and the skipper admitted the breeze had proved frustrating.
“We had a good breeze to start off with and we got up on the foils at the start which was good fun,” said McMillan.
“We could do with more of that. Then the wind died and it became tricky as the day progressed and it was a case of trying to make the best of the very light breeze.
“We were a bit frustrated because we had sailed really well and got into a good position then made a key mistake which cost us points and has put us three points behind Spindrift.
“Our expectation is to improve over the next few days. Get a few more race wins and consolidate on the good races when we have them and not give any points away.
“It was a good opening day but there is a lot we can do better. The plan is to come out fighting a bit harder over the next few days.”
The sunny conditions found favour with Omani bowman Nasser Al Mashari.
“The water is clear and there is lovely sunshine – it reminds me of Oman,” he said.
“We like any conditions but if there was more wind, it would be more fun for us because we love foiling on the GC32s and it would be more spectacular for the people watching because they go faster.
“We did a good job at the beginning but the wind became shifty especially in the middle of the course.
“We are happy with what we did today but still have another three days and we feel there is plenty of room for improvement. Our boat handling was good and our communications were good with everyone having a clear idea of their roles. So far, so happy.”
Racing in the Trofeo di Roma, which is the GC32 Racing Tour’s first event to be held in Italy, takes place over 27th-30th August, with the start of racing at 11.30 daily.