Four out of the five scheduled races on the opening day of the GC32 Oman Cup were sailed.
The challenging set of wind conditions at times enabling the GC32s to fly fully, sometimes to hull fly only and at other times leaving the ultra-high performance catamarans with both hulls firmly ‘low-riding’ in displacement mode.
Whatever with the wind was doing, the only consistency on the water was Alinghi, where a lifetime of competing in the fickle winds of Lake Geneva clearly paid dividends.
In the first three races, the Swiss two time America’s Cup winners seemed in a different league, starting well with good boat speed and ability to make the most sense of the breeze.
After Alinghi comfortably won the first three races, a chink in the Swiss armour finally appeared in race four which Red Bull Sailing Team won.
In this, a one-knot increase in wind speed demonstrated how it can transform GC32 racing, with the boat fully foiling in 8-9 knots, in what would be the windiest race of the day.
A fifth race was started but abandoned, with Oman Air leading, as the wind fell apart.
Red Bull Sailing Team ended the day third, just one point astern of Oman Air, Erik Maris’ Zoulou had a consistent day leaving them one point behind the Red Bull Sailing Team.
Showing moments of brilliance today too were Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team. Chris Steele is sailing his first event as the new helmsman for the Swiss team this week.
GC32 Oman Cup – After 4 races
1st Alinghi – 1 1 1 3 – – 6 pts
2nd Oman Air – 2 2 3 5 – – 12 pts
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team – 5 5 2 1 – – 13 pts
4th Zoulou – 4 4 4 2 – – 14 pts
5th Black Star Sailing Team – 3 3 5 6 – – 17 pts
6th Argo – 6 6 6 4 – – 22 pts