The breeze filled in and the boats took off on the third day of racing in the Extreme Sailing Series Hamburg but Oman Air stayed doggedly at the top of the leaderboard after fending off a dynamic challenge from rivals Alinghi in a contest that is set to go down to the wire.
The Swiss team had an outstanding day posting six outright wins in seven races but Morgan Larson and his Oman Air crew were never far behind, finishing every single race on the podium with five second places and two thirds.
Larson, who was a member of the Alinghi team last year before joining Oman Air, came off the water with a thumbs up for their day and a tip for tomorrow where the last double points race could decide the outcome for the entire Hamburg Act.
“You have to be happy if you come away with podium finishes on a day like today,” he said.
“It was very physical and challenging and you have to tip your hat to Alinghi – they sailed a flawless day.
“Tomorrow we will not be looking back and feeling the heat of the guy behind us which could lead to us making mistakes. We have to look forward and imagine ourselves further ahead.”
Oman Air saw the gap between them and Alinghi narrow to seven points which mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh quickly identified as one of the positives to come out of a day where they struggled to ‘snap it together’ for a win.
“There were so many things that came out of today that we can do better and if we only lost a few points to Alinghi having sailed like we sailed, we are in good shape. Tomorrow we just need to tick a few more boxes and address the things we missed out on today and we should have a nice day.”
Oman Air go into the final day at the top of the leaderboard with 174 points to Alinghi’s 167 which sets up an exciting finish and according to Nasser Al Mashari, who with Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski make up the rest of the Oman Air crew, there will be a decent breeze to help them on their way.
“The race track is very small here in Hamburg which is one of the busiest ports in the world. There are big ships everywhere and harbour walls all round which makes racing here very difficult especially when you get 20 knot gusts as we did today but I think we did a pretty good job,” he said.
“We have one more day so hopefully we can score some firsts tomorrow. We are hoping for a better breeze and some better results. We would love to come away with a win since it would be our third of the series after winning in Oman and Cardiff.”
Racing concludes on Sunday July 31. The action takes place at the HafenCity waterfront in Hamburg and fans online can watch it live on the official website www.extremesailingseries.com from 1530-1700 GMT+2 on 31 July.