Dominating display by Oman Air on day two at Lake Garda
A dominating performance by Oman Air on the second day of the GC32 Riva Cup, the penultimate leg of the GC32 Racing Tour Championship, on Friday put it back on track for the top honours on Sunday.
Skippered by Adam Minoprio of New Zealand, and a crew comprising Omani Nasser al Mashari, Britain’s Peter Greenhalgh and Adam Piggott and Kiwi Stewart Dodson, Oman Air had a forgettable outing on the opening day at the picturesque Lake Garda in Italy on Thursday.
With seven teams in action, Oman Air’s heavyweight bout at the top of the leaderboard is against Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi, helmed by Swiss ace Arnaud Psarofaghis.
With the Swiss Alinghi taking an early lead on the opening day, Oman Air clawed its way back on day two with two wins and one runner-up spot in the three races held.
Race officials had to struggle to get the action started as the afternoon southerly Ora [Blowing from the South, it is the most famous wind in Lake Garda, well known by sailors from all over the world. It begins usually blowing from noon time until sunset] wind was late and it required three changes of race course and a frustrating two-hour wait before the wind finally blasted in at 15plus knots.
Oman Air and Alinghi were called over early in the first race and had to drop back behind the fleet by way of a penalty.
Jason Carroll’s Argo won the first start and went on to hold the lead to the finish with Oman Air a close second despite having an OCS [On Course Side means that the boat did not start on the course side]. Oman Air then took over the proceedings as it won the second and third races.
“A good day it finally turned out to be for us,” remarked Greenhalgh, the team’s British project manager, mainsail trimmer and tactician, after the race.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Greenhalgh, said, “It was a bit frustrating waiting for Ora to blow. But after the first race where we did exceedingly well to bag a second after an OCS, we found the rhythm.
“On the opening day, we had a few issues. It was a shame we only had three races today because things were going good for us.”
On the OCS in the opening race on Friday, skipper and helmsman Minoprio, said, “We had the timing wrong there. It was good that we could get back into the race.”
The third race was also satisfying for Minoprio as the breeze was disappearing around the leeward gate and Oman Air made the best of it to hold a substantial lead at the finish.
The second day’s dominating display put Oman Air back on second place at the mid-way stage of the GC32 Riva Cup with Alinghi with a four-point cushion after the Swiss team posted a 4-2-2 on Friday.