Oman Sail’s crew on Sultanate of Oman capped off a stunning month by winning the Trofeo di Roma and stretching their overall lead in the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour.
Going into the final day of racing at the popular Italian resort of Civitavecchia, Leigh McMillan’s team were fending off a strong challenge from Swiss rivals Alinghi who were on a roll with a stream of podium places.
Until the penultimate race, the pressure was immense and although the Omanis held the lead, a possible upset was on the cards. But a mistake by Alinghi on the start line handed victory in Rome to McMillan and his crew of Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari and Alister Richardson.
“It was a tough last day,” McMillan admitted. “Alinghi were on fire and had a string of bullets but we were also sailing well and got a string of seconds and thirds so we were still in the lead. Then Alinghi had a mishap in the penultimate race which worked in our favour so going into the last race we had less to do.
“We are thrilled to win here in Italy and the overall scores are looking a bit healthier for us.”
The win comes on the back of McMillan’s Extreme 40 victory in St Petersburg, Russia, with The Wave, Muscat and puts three points between Sultanate of Oman and second placed Alinghi on the overall ranking.
According to bowman Al Mashari, Civitavecchia made a lasting impression as one of the best venues experienced this season due to the times they had been able to get the GC32 up on its foils and the incredible food.
“We really like to be foiling so the first day was a real treat because we flew a lot and today we managed to get up on the foils again so that rounded things off nicely. The food has been out of this world – always important to hungry sailors!
“We are still learning in this boat so we are really pleased to have won because the conditions were light and it was tough.
“We are very happy and extremely proud. It was our goal to win and we have achieved it with good teamwork, excellent boat handling and communications. It was important to stay calm and focussed especially when the wind went light and we managed to do that.
“We have really enjoyed sailing here and hope to come back at some point,” said Al Mashari.
The final event in the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour takes place in Marseille from September 30 to October 3.