TEA OMAN – A tricky fog bound day ended in a stunning success for The Wave, Muscat who posted two outright wins to climb to the top of the leaderboard of the Extreme Sailing Series in China with an emphatic 12 point lead.
Teams were forced to wait in the race village for three hours when thick fog enveloped Qingdao’s Fushan Bay but just as officials were preparing to abandon racing for day, it lifted, leaving enough time for four races before it fell dark.
A slow start in the first race set the Oman Sail team back but they were able to turn things around dramatically in the second, to record their first win which they followed up with a second victory in the next.
“It was boring having to wait for three hours but it turned out to be a very good day for us because we were able to stay focused,” said Musab Al Hadi, one of the crop of talented young Omani sailors coming through Oman Sail’s unique sailing programme.
“We had some good starts and were able to get into clear air. We messed up the first one in a major way but decided on a less risky approach in the second and waited for the opportunity to apply some pressure and it worked out well for us.
“It feels good to be back in the game though it is too early to start thinking about winning because there are a lot of races tomorrow including a double points final race but we will relax and try our best.”
Delighted skipper Leigh McMillan whose plans were thrown into chaos earlier this week when one of his crewmembers, the Omani multihull star Hashim Al Rashdi was forced to withdraw with appendicitis, cautioned against raising expectations over winning in Qingdao when there was still so much to do.
“There are still 120 points up for grabs so there is a lot of work to do,” he said.
“We have a morning and an afternoon session tomorrow which means a lot races so if we are remotely off our form, a 12 point lead can be turned around in a couple of races so we have to keep on sailing well.
“At the moment it is probably between us and Alinghi but 12 points is only two bad races. If we sail well we have every chance of defending well here in Qingdao.
“Everyone is in good shape and we have things working well on the boat so tonight we will recap on things like communication and decision making to see how we can improve and tonight we will relax.
“Then tomorrow we will go out and reproduce the team work and performances we have produced so far but so far this has been a good event for us and I am really happy.”
“Alinghi had a couple of difficult starts and it made things difficult for them. Two races like that and they were locked in which gave us the opportunity to get clear.
“It was very tight with lots of tacks and lots happening but we were able to sail through and it paid off, massively.”