Extreme Sailing Series Act Three: Barcelona: Oman Air aims for repeat success in Barcelona Act
Oman Air skipper Phil Robertson will hope for a repeat of last year's success in Barcelona, Spain, when his team will compete in the third Act of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) from Thursday.
Oman Air is currently third in the overall standings after two Acts and a repeat win in Barcelona will certainly boost its points tally in the seven series.
Robertson and his crew goes to Barcelona with renewed confidence after claiming a second place in testing conditions at Riva del Garda in Italy, during the GC32 World Championship in the last week of May.
Following a third place in the ESS opener in Muscat in March, and a second in Italy, the team is currently level on 21 points with Alinghi in the season overall, both just two points behind leaders SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
“We learnt so much as a team in the wind conditions in Garda and have got a lot better in breeze and foiling conditions,” said Oman Air’s veteran mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh.
The other Oman Air crew members are James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson and Nasser al Mashari.
“It is turning into a four-way fight this season, and there will be a lot of changing around at the top of the table,” said Greenhalgh.
Oman Air bowman Mashari said, “We are looking forward to Barcelona as last year we went there and we won – the same result would be great to get.”
With the tempo of the season now quickening, further regattas will follow in rapid succession in Cascais, Portugal, in July, and then Cardiff, UK, in August. The season concludes in San Diego, California, and Los Cabos, Mexico, in October and November.
Barcelona is a prestigious venue and offers up a mixed bag of conditions, from calm seas, thermal winds and big swells.
Barcelona poses a string of challenges for the sailors. “You can get a massive swell, and there is a rock pool which the swell bounces off,” explained Robertson. “It’s a tricky little spot - it can be light airs but it can also blow dogs off chains, so it’s pretty cool.”
ESS standings [after two Acts]: 1 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (23 points), 2 Alinghi (21), 3 Oman Air (21), 4 INEOS Rebels UK (19), 5 Red Bull Sailing Team (16), 6 Team Mexico (13), 7 NZ Extreme Sailing Team (7).