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Sultanate of Oman moves to top of leaderboard in Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour’s Cowes Cup
Leigh McMillan’s slick team work on Sultanate of Oman was back to its polished best on the second day of racing in the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour’s Cowes Cup resulting in a string of podium places and a welcome hike to the top of the leaderboard.

Racing was delayed by almost two hours when the light breeze dipped to zero in the morning but when the competition finally got underway, it was McMillan and his crew of Nasser Al Mashari, Pete Greenhalgh, Alister Richardson and Ed Smyth who were among the first to find their form and by the end of the next race they had recorded their first win of the day.

There was a second win plus three second places in the next five races leaving Sultanate of Oman neck and neck with Armin Strom Sailing Team at the top of the table with one race remaining which is precisely what it took to leapfrog their opponents and take the overall lead.

“We sailed better today but that was down to our growing familiarity with the boat,” explained Peter Greenhalgh, speaking on behalf of McMillan who dislocated his index finger during a manoeuvre in the final race and required treatment.

“We had a bit of a lightbulb moment working out our crew routines at the start and the roles everyone was playing and that made a big difference. We like being at the top and it puts us in a good position for the rest of the event.”

Nasser Al Mashari, who is also the bowman on Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 crew on The Wave, Muscat, is new to foiling but is turning out to be a natural at trimming foils. He is relishing the opportunity to try something new and having raced Sultanate of Oman to victory in Austria where there was no wind, is looking forward to the challenge of racing GC32s in 17 knots on Friday.

“Our boat handling was so much better today - it was a very good day, so hopefully when the wind blows tomorrow as it is expected to do, we can improve even more,” he said.

“We had three days training in the Solent before the first event in Austria and it was windy but it will still be a massive learning curve.”

Racing in the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour’s Cowes Cup reaches its climax tomorrow with a further six races to decide the winner of the Cowes Cup before all the GC32 boats take part in the annual JP Morgan Round the Island Race, a classic in the British sailing calendar on Saturday.

Photo : Lloyd Images
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