Team Oman Air achieve Qingdao podium after eleventh-hour Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 comeback

Tuesday, 02 May 2017


Team Oman Air pulled off an incredible comeback to score their second podium finish of the season in a thrilling finale to Act 2 in Qingdao, China.


The Omani-flagged crew, this year led by New Zealand skipper Phil Robertson, jumped three places up the leaderboard to finish in third thanks to a stunning last-day performance on the waters of Fushan Bay.

With the wind ranging from eight to 18 knots – a welcome change after three days of lighter breeze – Oman Air upped their game and notched up three vital wins from seven races including the final double-pointer.

The timely resurgence saw them finish on equal points with Act 1 winners SAP Extreme Sailing Team, but their final-race victory allowed them to snatch the final podium spot from their Danish rivals on countback.

Oman Air shared the podium with Act winners Alinghi, from Switzerland, and second-placed British crew Land Rover BAR Academy.

“I can't imagine a better result than that today, we pulled the rabbit out of the hat,” a relieved Robertson said. “We were sixth overall for most of the day and managed to pull it together for the last few races. We managed to win the last two including the double-pointer and it all fell into place for us. We're pretty happy with third overall.”

The result sees Oman Air consolidate their third place on the overall Series leaderboard, with just a two-point gap between them and first-placed Alinghi after two Acts and with six still remaining.

“We're only a couple of points behind Alinghi overall, and it's really just the start of the season,” Robertson added. “It's going to be a long, hard series against some good teams and everyone will be moving up and down the leaderboard. We're happy with where we are right now.”

Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air's Omani bowman, said the team's ability to come back from sixth overall to end on the podium was testament to how solid they are as a group.

He said the team – which includes mainsheet trimmer and tactician Pete Greenhalgh, headsail trimmer Ed Smyth and bowman James Wierzbowski – would make sure they come out of the blocks quicker when racing resumes in Madeira next month.

“Third is an amazing result for us – we had an amazing day,” he said. “We really delivered today and I'm really proud of the team. To come back from sixth overall to third just shows how strong we are as a team. 

“We will learn from our mistakes here and make sure we're not in the same situation going into the final day again. Now we're really excited to get on the water in Madeira and nail it right from the start.”

Oman Air received a special boost from His Excellency Abdullah Al Saadi, Omani ambassador to China, who travelled to Qingdao to support the team on finals day.

His Excellency met the crew this morning and enjoyed a boat tour before supporting the team from the VIP boat for their momentous comeback.

“I'm delighted to be here in Qingdao at the Extreme Sailing Series supporting Team Oman Air – they're linking Omani history to China,” he said. “Our two countries have enjoyed a long history and our team here is really commemorating this by finishing on the podium in Qingdao. What we have seen today will enhance the tourism relations between Oman and China. I have seen a lot of Chinese people coming to see the boat and this will really encourage the Chinese people to visit Oman and to experience our culture and our country that has a lot to offer.”  

Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series will be held in Madeira, Portugal, from June 29 to July 2.

Click here to watch Team Oman Air learning about Tai Chi!

International media contact Oman and GCC media contact
Daphne Morgan Barnicoat Assim Al Saqri
+34 678 659 317 | +968 970 84836 +968 93807401 




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