The advantage of the underdog - Oman Air look forward to Act 2 Muscat
As the original stadium racing circuit, the Extreme Sailing Series™, prepares to descend on the beautiful white beaches of Oman on the Arabian coast for Act 2 Muscat, 11 – 14 March, all eyes fall to the home teams, but it’s not Extreme 40 heavyweights, The Wave Muscat, causing a stir amongst the fleet.
On paper the crew of Oman Air is one of the least experienced teams when it comes to Extreme 40 sailing, however, considering the more experienced competition they are up against, the team showed moments of brilliance at Act 1 Singapore last month, as the SAP race analytics showed, with their results steadily improving throughout the week and rarely dropping beyond mid fleet.
For a team where over half of the crew have not sailed a full season on an Extreme 40 before, this is impressive. With the average age on board just 26, the aspiring crew is headed up by two-time British Olympian Stevie Morrison, who is getting used to the cut and thrust of the Extreme 40 setup: “It’s great fun, I mean clearly it’s a huge challenge made even tougher by the fact you can’t do any practice in the boat between events - it makes experience in the Series really important and catching the other teams a lot harder.”
Currently sitting fifth going into his second Act with Oman Air, Morrison is joined by fellow Team GB sailors Ed Powys and Nic Asher, and bringing some valuable Extreme 40 experience to the syndicate Australian Headsail Trimmer Ted Hackney and Omani Bowmen Ali Al Balashi. “All the members of the team have really important roles and only through working well together will we really start getting the consistent results.” Morrison adds, “Oman will be fantastic, the conditions there are superb for racing and in front of home crowds will be a real honour. From our perspective it will be totally new conditions so effectively a full new set of skills to learn.”
Sailing on home waters and up against big brother, The Wave Muscat, most sailors would feel the pressure, but not Morrison. The crew of Oman Air have the advantage of the underdog on their side, without the burden of expectation, allowing them to focus on their own game. “It will be exciting to have the home crowd willing us on, I think the pressure we put on ourselves to perform is always high so the crowd will only spur us on. The Wave, being the experienced crew, will carry the burden of needing to win – I’m starting to feel that maybe we can become the surprise package.”
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