Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
Oman Air Head to Head with Alinghi
With local heroes Oman Air and Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss World Champions Alinghi heading into battle fervour is rising on the docks of Muscat’s Al Mouj marina ahead of the GC32 Finals.
This is the fifth and final of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour and among the participants is strong potential for match racing one another. For example fifth and sixth-placed Argo and Black Star Sailing Team are within three points of one another.
Similarly four points separate Erik Maris’ Zoulou from Austrian double Tornado Olympic medallists Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher’s Red Bull Sailing Team in third place.
Oman Air local heros
But unquestionably the big match is for the top spot between the local heroes and Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss World Champions Alinghi. They are tied on points, heading for a ‘winner takes all’ end of season showdown.
If the leaders are locked together this week in their own personal match race, perhaps this will create opportunities for the others? “Alinghi and Oman Air will be the top teams for sure, but in Riva we saw that we were able to do some good things,” says Thomas le Breton, tactician on Erik Maris’ Zoulou. “I hope we will be able to win some races. Our goal remains to fight when we can with Alinghi and Oman Air and if we can beat Red Bull overall we would be very happy.”
Many of the European teams having come from the start of their winter are coming to terms with the 30-32°C heat. In November Oman is very nice compared to France or Italy.
The forecast for racing looks positive with a north easterly sea breeze ranging from the low to high teens daily, with most wind expected on Saturday. “It is like Palma on a sea breeze day – a hot wind, but not very dense, so the set-up is quite different compared to Riva and there is a chop here which can make it quite challenging,” advises Sebastien Col.
The GC32 Oman Cup has been jointly organised with Oman Sail, with host venue partners EFG Private Banking, fragrance brand Amouage and the Omans Ministry of Tourism.
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