OMAN AIR – With five days to go to the end of this epic marathon which has taken the fleet from the north of France, 700 nautical miles along the Atlantic coast via seven stopovers, to the Mediterranean Sea, Team Oman Sail is lying second in the inshore ranking and fifth overall just 13.7 points behind closest rival Thomas Coville on Sodebo.
Light airs have dogged the 12-strong fleet so far in the Mediterranean, but the conditions have suited Oman Sail. French skipper Cedric Pouligny who has been teaching Omani sailors for the Oman Sail programme for four years and has led the M34 project in the last three Tours was delighted with their second place on the overall inshore ranking: “The result really demonstrates that our boat handling has improved a great deal and that our tactical calls are good. For the offshore legs you have to be at 200% the whole time and that is something we are working on as a team but haven’t fully achieved yet,” he said.
The team is focussed on consistency and performance in the final few days of the event and after a last in port race in Gruissan today, sets off this evening on the 125nm leg to La Seyne-sur-Mer, the penultimate stop on the Mediterranean Tour.
“The racing is incredibly tight,” said Abdulaziz Al Obaidani who is new onboard this season. “We are very much in the competition and remain super motivated to improve and do better every time we race.” His more experienced countryman Nasser Al Mashari who has raced the Extreme 40 circuit on Oman Air and the Tour de France a la Voile previously was philosophical and characteristically ambitious for the future: “The standard here this year is incredibly high and the racing is tough because the competition is sailing very, very well. We have no regrets though; every time we race we get better and with progress we will one day win the Tour de France a la Voile for Oman!”
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