Conditions proved perfect for the second day of racing at Al Mouj Muscat Marina where the nine teams in this year’s 44Cup finale took to the water for three races. A northerly wind peaking at 15 knots allowed the RC44 one designs to plane on the downwind legs and show their speed all afternoon.
Oman Sail’s Team Asyad Shipping team, taking part in a 44Cup event for the first time, learned a valuable lesson after a slight collision with Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing which led to a small hole in Artemis’ sacrificial stern and derailed Team Asyad Shipping’s progress in the second race. Overall, the first two days of racing have been a challenging introduction to a very tough international tour, but the experience will be valuable for the future.
Nasser Al Mashari, skipper onboard Team Asyad Shipping, said, “We have a good wind today, and I think the team are doing a very good job. So far, so happy, and we are learning every day. This event is part of our sailing strategy 2032, and we are training now to compete in the future. There is already a lot of improvement in the team, we are getting there. I am sure with more training we will be improve further. Tomorrow, we expect lighter winds, but we are hungry to race in all conditions.”
Today’s first race saw Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing continuing her winning ways. In today’s first race they made gains out on the left of the first beat, then found a good lane out to the right, setting them up with a solid lead at the top mark ahead of Artemis Racing. Following this with a 2-4, the French team was the lowest scoring boat of the day, elevating it from fourth to second place overall.
Artemis Racing’s tactician Andy Horton Added, “We battled back really hard. The guys sailed really well, and we were in the pack with just good boat handling and speed.” Fortune was also smiling upon them: “We won the little battles today – we had a leeward mark rounding with Team Nika and we came in and had room to go right. If they had been 2m further forward, they would have been able to get clear air in front of us and we would have had an awful one. Similarly, there were just a couple of crosses and tight lanes that we lived in that were game changers.”
After two mid-fleet finishes, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua won today’s third race by which time the wind had reached its peak. “I was a bit rusty in the first two races. In the last race we joined the dots up pretty well,” admitted Bake. “We had a good start and powered through and went all the way out on starboard – one tack and in. We got a few favourable shifts.
Team Nika’s run of supreme consistency only came to an end in today’s final race when they posted a fifth, however at this halfway stage of the 44Cup Oman they continue to lead with a six-point margin, although now over Aleph Racing. Behind it is close with just six points separating second place from Nico Poons’ fifth placed Charisma.
Racing is scheduled to get underway at 12:30 local time (UTC -4 hours). Follow live from www.44cup.org.
The 44Cup Oman is organised by Oman Sail and also supported by official event partners Oman Air, Al Mouj Muscat, Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Tanuf Water, Transom Catering, environmental partners Environment Society of Oman (ESO) and UN Clean Seas, and the new EQ range from Mercedes-Benz Oman.