Barcelona, 23 July 2017: Team Oman Air claimed their first regatta win of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series with a dominant display in Barcelona, Spain, narrowing the gap to the top spot on the overall leaderboard to just one point.
An emphatic victory in the final race, which counted for double points, sealed glory for Phil Robertson and his team after three days of tense, high octane racing.
The crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari and James Wierzbowski joined Robertson in celebration as they crossed the finish line a massive two minutes ahead of closest rival SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
After rocketing from third to first on the penultimate day of Act 4 with a stunning display of consistency, Oman Air set out to defend their lead on the tricky Barcelona racecourse.
Three wins in a row for Red Bull Sailing Team saw Oman Air slip into second place but Robertson’s men pulled it back with two runners-up finishes to set up a tense finale.
Going into the last race, just ten points split Oman Air in first from Alinghi in fourth, with Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team in second and third.
But, with their lead under threat, Oman Air put on the performance of the day, dominating from start to finish and sending a clear message of intent to their Extreme Sailing Series rivals.
Over the Act’s 22 races the crew notched up an impressive four race wins and 15 podium finishes.
Crucially the victory in Barcelona moves Oman Air to within one point of joint leaders SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Alinghi on the overall scoreboard at the halfway mark of the tour.
“It’s amazing to win this one,” said tactician and mainsail trimmer Greenhalgh, the Extreme Sailing Series’ most decorated sailor.
“We had three third-place finishes going into this regatta which was quite frustrating, so we’re very pleased with this result, but we still feel like there’s quite a lot more to come out of our team. We’re looking forward to the next event and trying to keep some momentum going through the series.”
Robertson, the reigning match racing world champion who joined the team at the start of 2017, added: “We probably couldn’t have finished in a better way to be honest. We’re stoked. It was really tough out there, the pressure was certainly on, but we managed to deliver.”
Omani bowman Nasser Al Mashari said the victory would give Oman Air a welcome boost as they enter the back half of the Extreme Sailing Series.
“We have always known we were capable of winning an Act and that it was just a matter of time before everything came together,” he said.
“It feels amazing to have pulled it off here in Barcelona. It means a lot to the team and will give us a real boost with four more regattas still to go.”
The team now has a short two-week break before racing resumes with the fifth round of the Extreme Sailing Series in the German city of Hamburg from August 10 to 13.
Oman Sail’s Flying Phantom duo of Thomas Normand and Ahmed Al Hasni finished the second round of the series in fifth place out of 12 teams from seven countries after a strong finish, achieving their top 5 goal!