2019 GC32 Villasimius Cup: Team Oman Air off to a winning start

Team Oman Air got its maiden 2019 GC32 Racing Tour season off to a victorious start as it clinched the top honours in the opening leg of the  GC32 Villasimius Cup in Sardinia, Italy, on Sunday.

The new-look Oman Air crew showed its mettle in a highly competitive ten-strong fleet of high-speed foiling catamarans to win by nine points.

Skippered by Kiwi helmsman, Adam Minoprio, the crew has established team members in Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser al Mashari and Stewart Dodson, and was joined by experienced British sailor Adam Piggott.

“We are a new team and trying hard, and we have been able to find some areas that are definite strengths,” said Greenhalgh, Oman Air’s project manager, mainsail trimmer and tactician. “We had a great team on paper and it all came good for us. It’s also been working really well between me and Adam [Minoprio]. So we are really pleased.”

After sharing the early lead with defending GC32 champion Norauto, led by French ace Franck Cammas, Oman Air built the foundation for its ultimate success with a hat-trick of race victories on the third day on Saturday.

Going into Sunday’s fourth and final day’s races the crew held an eight-point advantage, a lead it was able to maintain despite persistent pressure from the chasing pack, notably Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss team on Alinghi and multiple Olympic gold medal winner Ben Ainslie’s crew on INEOS Rebels UK, which finished overall second and third.

Oman Air's victory was sealed with a second place in the 16th and final race of the regatta.

Mashari, a regular with the Oman Sail-organised team, said, “It is good to have a nice start to our GC32 Racing Tour campaign. The other teams are very competitive and we know they will come back strongly throughout the season.

“There is a long way to go, but we will be trying our hardest to get a good result at every event.”

The second event on the GC32 Racing Tour is schedule in Lagos, southern Portugal, from June 26-30.

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