Mixed fortunes for Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat in ESS Act 3 Qingdao
QINGDAO- The third Act of the Land Rover, Extreme Sailing Series took place in Qingdao, China today(May 1st,2014) where Oman Sail had a day of mixed fortunes. The Wave, Muscat recorded two podium places including a second place win behind Swiss rivals Alinghi but the race was over for Oman Air just 30 seconds after it started when GAC Pindar collided with the boat.
This Act saw the Oman Air team, skippered by Rob Greenhalgh, welcome America’s Cup winner Kyle Langford to the team, which includes Tom Johnson and Omani sailors Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi. The team was forced to retire after GAC Pindar ran out of space as they bore away and ploughed into the port side of them, holing the boat and making it a long night for the three-man shore crew of Joe Lees, Hilal Al Zadjali and Suleiman Al Manji.
According to Oman’s Musab Al Hadi who was on the bow when the boats collided, it was an unfortunate incident but would not prevent Oman Air from returning to the racetrack tomorrow.
“GAC Pindar couldn’t bear away. There was not enough room in the fleet,” he explained. “By the time we saw them under the boom, there was nothing more we could have done and for them it was just an error. It was one of those things.
“We came here to race and not being able to race is upsetting. We were hoping to get into it – to use the start of the regatta to build
and develop and now we are missing out on a day of sailing so it is a big disadvantage. We are keen to get into it tomorrow.” Oman Air was craned out of the water and the shore crew immediately set about making repairs, a task that was set to take all night.
“Thankfully no one was hurt, that was the main thing so we will get back on the water tomorrow and lick our wounds,” explained skipper Rob Greenhalgh who is very keen to get some good racing in and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the fleet race with his crewmates. “These things happen unfortunately but being in the right, hopefully we should get some average points for it once we get some racing in.”
The other team in the Oman Sail family racing in China, The Wave, Muscat had a better start to the race. Fresh from their recent win in Act 2 Muscat, the team which features Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton,America’s Cup sailor Kinley Fowler and Nasser Al Mashari as well as seasoned professional Pete Greenhalgh as skipper, performed well.
Sarah Ayton, who was making her first trip back to China in six years after winning a sailing gold medal in the Yngling class at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, said the return to familiar waters in Qingdao brought back some good memories.
“It’s been a few years and although Qingdao has changed, the sailing conditions remain similar – quite light and very tidal so pretty tough,” she said.“At the Olympics we were racing more offshore so it was more about tide and the wind was more stable but it is still as I remember it…tricky!!
“I’m really enjoying the Extremes. This is our third event and each time we gel more and more.The first couple of days are about being consistent, getting top five results and trying not to have any shockers. But we have had an OK day and will go out tomorrow and try and have another OK day!
“The wind today was a little bit lighter than forecast. It was a pretty tough day but we will keep pushing hard and are looking forward to the next few days.”
The ESS Act 3 Qingdao has been enthusiastically supported by the Chinese media with over 80 media organisations attending the pre-race press conference. Thousands of spectators are expected to watch the Extreme 40s in action from the free public Race Village in Fushan Bay over the three days of public Stadium Racing starting tomorrow.